Colston Hall

Colston Hall imageTransformation of Main Hall and Historic Foyer

In 2009, the new foyer building opened as the first stage in the Colston Hall redevelopment. The Main Hall was last updated in 1951 and is no longer adequate for audiences or performers. The Bristol Music Trust, who run the Hall and the Council propose to transform the Hall into one of the best in Europe with added arts and learning facilities. The project architect is Levitt Bernstein who designed the New Foyer. The redevelopment will restore the Victorian details.

The headline improvements are:

  • Remodel the main hall to international standards of acoustics, comfort and flexibility.
  • Redevelop The Lantern into an elegant and versatile venue.
  • Restore the historic Victorian foyer and create a restaurant in it.
  • Create a third performance space and music centre for Bristol Plays Music in the cellars.
  • Improve disability access.
  • Install new seating, air conditioning and toilets.
  • Restore the original Colston Street façade.
  • Improve and extend the backstage areas.

The Hall and The Lantern will be closed from early summer 2018 to Easter 2020 for the construction. The Trust will present music in alternative spaces across the city during the dark period. The project will cost £48.8million. The and the Council are working with a range of funders including Arts Council England and Heritage Lottery and are confident of delivering the redevelopment.

The Society strongly supports all aspects of the scheme and agrees that the improvements to the Hall outweigh the loss of the Festival of Britain interior. This is an opportunity to improve to the dreary Trenchard Street streetscape behind the Hall, which has a harmful impact on the Council’s investment in the New Foyer. More could be made of the Plaza in front of the New Foyer; it could become a performance space in addition to the outside catering. A pavement build-out would prevent coaches blocking the view of the restored facade.

Bristol Civic Society's full response [PDF, 627KB] Right-click to download, click to view.

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John Frenkel
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