Bristol Music Trust (BMT) has revealed the next stages in its ambitious £48.8 million redevelopment programme for Colston Hall.
Louise Mitchell, chief executive of BMT, said: “We are on track with our transformation campaign and at this stage in the process, we can now focus on the detailed plans for the redeveloped Hall, including what its future name should be.
“The name Colston does not reflect the Trust’s values as a progressive, forward-thinking and open arts organisation. We want to look to the future and ensure the whole city is proud of its transformed concert hall and so, when we reopen the new building in 2020, it will be with a new name. This overall rebrand is part of transforming the Colston Hall we have today into the new National Centre for Music Entertainment, Education and Enterprise.”
With two-thirds of the funding raised and public consultation complete on the pre-planning application, the Trust is now heading into its final campaign stage. This includes raising the remaining third of the money and finalising detailed plans ahead of the planning application being submitted to Bristol City Council later this year.
Louise explained: “We have always been clear that the option of commercial sponsorship would be part of our transformation fundraising plans and we are now looking to engage with commercial organisations about sponsorship opportunities, which is key to helping us reach our total. The new name could include recognition of a commercial partner, but we will be consulting with audiences and other stakeholders during the closure period before announcing a new name in 2020.”
When the multimillion pound redevelopment is completed in 2020, it will reopen as a completely transformed, new cultural centre. BMT also wants to use this opportunity to begin a public conversation about a vision of Colston Hall that reflects the modern diversity and culture of the city.
Marti Burgess, one of BMT’s trustees, said: “We want to use this as an opportunity to open discussions with the Bristol public about how Colston Hall can reflect the diversity and inclusivity of our city. The Hall’s 150th anniversary this year is the perfect opportunity to begin these discussions.
“We will be appointing an artist to help us talk to local groups about Colston Hall’s role in the community and how we should recognise Colston’s name in the new building.
“We want to embrace our position at the centre of this naming discussion to work beyond the building and help lead conversations across Bristol about how we address and acknowledge the city’s connections to the slave trade.”
The Trust has raised just over £30 million towards the Hall’s transformation since it launched it in September 2014, with funding pledges including £10m from Bristol City Council, £10m from Arts Council England, £5m from the Government, £4.75m from the Heritage Lottery Fund as well as private donations.