St George's Bristol officially launches its 'Building a Sound Future' development project
St George’s Bristol has launched the public phase of ‘Building a Sound Future’ a £5.5 million development project to build a new extension to the world class music venue. St George’s celebrated the launch with an eye catching musical event/performance from the roof of the Grade II* listed former church.
Acclaimed violinist and leader of Aurora Orchestra, Thomas Gould performed the well known and rousing Hungarian folk tune Csárdás by Vittorio Monti as an example of the world class live music that is performed inside St George’s every week, though on this special occasion from the dizzying height of 20m (safely rigged in a full body harness).
At the same time, to celebrate the launch of the public appeal and reach out to new visitors, the event was accompanied by a balloon release with free tickets for concerts at the venue attached to each balloon.
The St George’s Bristol ‘Building a Sound Future’ appeal was kick started by an initial pledge of £1.95 million from the Arts Council England and reached the halfway point towards the end of 2014 following grants of £300,000 from the Garfield Weston Foundation and £50,000 from the J.Paul Getty Jr. Charitable Trust.
A recent generous donation from Sir Seigmund Warburg's Voluntary Settlement takes the total to £2.75 million raised.
Suzanne Rolt, director, St George’s Bristol said:
“We already have a world class hall loved by artists and audiences, but we've run out of the space to accommodate the thousands of people who come through our doors each year. Our project is about creating an inspiring new space with the world class facilities we need to ensure everyone has a great experience when they come here. We are delighted with the support we have already received from the Arts Council England and our new funding partners”.
St George’s Bristol ‘Building a Sound Future’ appeal events and activities across 2015 include:
- 30 January - Thomas Gould ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ performance
- 24 February – 120 Years of the Steinway
- 03 March – Meet the Architects at St George’s Bristol
- 20 May – Aurora Orchestra Jitterbug Flash Mob
- 12 June – Carnevale Veneziano Fundraising Gala
The ‘Building a Sound Future’ appeal will deliver the first extension to St George’s since it was designed by Sir Robert Smirke (architect of the British Museum) and built in 1823. The new contemporary glass and stone extension by award winning architects, Patel Taylor will greatly improve facilities and provide full access to the venue for the first time.
Key features of the project are:
- A bold new contemporary extension to the core building, providing new visitor entrances
- Comprehensive remodelling of all backstage and artist facilities
- New garden facing café and bar
- New education and workshop spaces
- New ramped access directly into the main hall for the first time
Of the total £5.5m required to fully realise the project, £2.68m has now been secured. Further major public and private sources of funds are currently in active negotiation and any interested parties should contact Simon Farley, head of fundraising, St George’s Bristol.
Initial ground works for the construction of the new extension will begin in spring 2016, with St George’s Bristol remaining open throughout the majority of the build. Completion is scheduled for autumn 2017.