Bristol Music Trust (the independent charity with responsibility for Colston Hall) and St George’s Bristol have been awarded £975,000 over three years in regular funding from Arts Council England in a unique arrangement that will see the two venues working in close partnership together to promote music in Bristol.

In an unprecedented move, these organisations have been awarded joint funding from Arts Council England, and will now become National Portfolio Organisations (NPOs).

This is the first time that music in Bristol has been recognised and supported in this way by the Arts Council. These two leading music venues now take their place alongside other regularly funded arts organisations in the city such as Arnolfini (visual arts) and Bristol Old Vic (theatre).

The funding will be used to enhance the regular work of both organisations as well as to provide the opportunity for partnership working on special projects, such as the promoting of flagship classical concerts – and a range of joint programming and festivals. It also allows the two venues to collaborate on the development of audiences in the South West and ensure broader access to live music across the region.

Bristol Music Trust also runs Bristol Plays Music, the Music Hub for the city, and this new funding will allow the Trust and St George’s Bristol to work with thousands more young people from local schools and colleges, nurturing a love of music and opening up pathways into music performance, composition and management. The funding will run for three years and will give Bristol’s cultural life a much needed boost.’

‘The achievement of NPO funding for music in Bristol will see a significant step change in our ability to make a real difference. We are very excited to be working together with our colleagues at St George’s and very proud to have achieved so much since Bristol Music Trust was formed in 2011.’

Louise Mitchell, Chief Executive, Bristol Music Trust / Colston Hall

‘Bristol has already been named the UK’s most musical city and this award will allow St George’s and Colston Hall to work together to contribute even more to the live music scene. It will benefit both professional and amateur musical talent and create new, imaginative series and festivals for people of all ages to enjoy.’

Suzanne Rolt, Director, St George’s Bristol

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England said:

‘We are very pleased to be welcoming Bristol Music Trust and St George’s Bristol into the national portfolio. The considerable ambition, skill and expertise of this consortium will develop and raise the profile of Bristol and the south west as a centre for music. We very much look forward to continuing to work with Bristol Music Trust and St George’s in achieving our mission of great art and culture for everyone.’



There are celebrations at St George’s Bristol today at the news that Arts Council England has awarded the venue a Round I Pass with a Development Phase grant of £195,000 allowing it to develop its capital redevelopment project and eventually access a total of £1.95m in 2015. St George’s Bristol, the renowned concert hall staging over 275 music events and talks per annum, is nestled in lush gardens behind Park Street. The funding is the first major step towards its fundraising goal of £5 million to create a beautiful modern extension so that St George’s can fulfill its potential as a world class performance venue.

Designed by award winning architects, Patel Taylor, the new extension will allow St George’s to offer a greatly improved and more accessible venue, transforming the experience for all visitors. Encompassing a bold new entrance foyer, new contemporary café and bar spaces the development will also deliver a comprehensive remodeling of all backstage and artist facilities including new workshop and educational spaces. The new building will also ensure that St George’s is fully accessible for the first time and be environmentally friendly too. With this major grant secured the capital appeal is now underway, which will continue until December 2015, with the landmark new building scheduled to re-open in Autumn 2017.

“I’m so thrilled that after two years of preparation and planning our ambitious new development project is finally underway. This award is a tremendous endorsement of our future vision for St George’s and means that thanks to Arts Council England and the generous donations from some key supporters we are now nearly half way towards reaching our £5 million target. We’ll be launching a Public Appeal in September to raise the remaining funds and, all being well, the new building will open in autumn 2017. As well as Arts Council England, I’d like to thank all those supporters and audience members who have believed in and backed this dream and I hope more people will now get on board to ensure St George’s becomes a fully accessible concert hall at the heart of Bristol’s music community.”

Suzanne Rolt, Director, St George’s Bristol

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England said:

‘We are also delighted to be making St George’s Bristol an award of £195,000 from our National Lottery funded capital programme towards developing plans to improve their beautiful Grade II listed building and make it accessible to everyone. This is an important Bristol venue with a significant programme that delights audiences from Bristol and much further afield and we are very pleased to be able to support development plans.’

Bristol City Council also confirmed this week that St George’s Bristol will maintain its Key Arts Provider status, awarding £36,736 p.a. for the next three years.