JBP to support the multi-million pound transformation of Colston Hall

17 October 2014, News

JBP has been appointed by the Bristol Music Trust to provide media and political communications support to raise up to £45m to transform the city’s Colston Hall into an international standard concert facility and a national centre for entertainment, education and enterprise across the arts spectrum.

JBP will manage the communications campaign, ‘Thank You for the Music,’ to support the fundraising appeal, with the aim to start works by 2017, the 150th anniversary of the Hall, in readiness for an opening in 2019.

The transformation plans include:

  • remodelling the existing main auditorium, with major changes to the stage and equipping it with international standards of acoustics, comfort and flexibility
  • redeveloping the second hall, known as The Lantern, into an elegant and versatile performance venue – The Lantern started life as the Little Theatre in the 1920s and became a bar until it was turned back into a second performance area in 2009
  • the introduction of flexible seating technology which will enable the venue to be used for a variety of purposes – from a range of performances covering the arts spectrum to festivals, corporate events and graduations
  • opening up the cellars, which are underneath the auditorium, for the first time in 100 years to provide educational workshops, workspace for performing arts business enterprises and a cabaret style performance area
  • restoring the historic core of the building  and the Colston Street frontage to its Victorian magnificence
  • bringing back the historic colonnade to its former glory.

The transformation will form phase two of Bristol’s biggest ever redevelopment programme in the arts sector. The first stage involved the construction of the £20m foyer space, which opened in 2009.

Spanning generations, the Hall has led the field in music from dance to early rock and roll, from beat groups to prog rock.  It has also played host to some of the major musical influences down the years including The Beatles (who were famously flour bombed by the audience at Colston Hall in 1964), and Bob Dylan, who filmed the live shots for ‘Hearts of Fire’ at the Hall.

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive at Bristol Music Trust, which runs Colston Hall, said:

“There has been no major refurbishment of Colston Hall for the last sixty years. Indeed it is the only concert hall in the UK not to have been redeveloped in recent times. Therefore we have ambitious plans to transform the venue into a facility fit for the 21st century, which will ensure that the Hall continues to be a driving force in the performing arts arena for another 150 years. We appointed JBP due to their track record in the charity sector and for their national media and political networks.”

Added Chris Lawrance, Managing Director of JBP:

“We are delighted to be supporting the transformation of this iconic building and to be

involved in arguably the largest fundraising programme in the city for a long time. The city needs a top class venue of this nature and it will complement the Arena development at Temple Meads, which will be designed for bigger audiences.

“This programme will also build on our success in supporting high profile charities including the National Eye Research Centre and Access to Medicine.”

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