We’ve known for a few months that Bristol Beacon, formerly known as Colston Hall, will reopen this November. Bristol’s historic arts venue has been at the heart of the city’s cultural events for over a century. (The earliest reference to a music festival was in 1896.) So it’s felt like a long time closed as it underwent construction work. Finally, after five years and £132 million, Bristol Beacon’s opening weekend will kickstart today (November 30)!
The momentous opening night will focus on a “spectacular collision of sound and light composed in a unique collaborative process.” Trip The Light Fantastic is a newly commissioned work featuring an all-Bristol line-up made up of globally-renowned orchestral innovators Paraorchestra, electronic artist Surgeons Girl, Charles Hazelwood and light artists Limbic Cinema.
Composed over months, Trip The Light Fantastic came together in a collaborative ‘call-and-response’ process. This multi-sensory improvisational experience will light up Beacon Hall for the first time in years. Trip the Light Fantastic promises to be, in the words of Charles, “an electro-orchestral feast… like nothing you’ve ever seen or heard before,” a spectacular collision of sound and light composed in a unique collaborative process.
The synthesizer creations of lead composer Sinead McMillan (aka Surgeons Girl) will be transmuted into orchestral parts for Paraorchestra’s celebrated ensemble of disabled and non-disabled musicians by ‘responding composer’ Oliver Vibrans. Using signals generated by Surgeons Girl’s hardware, AV and immersive video experts Limbic Cinema will also create a breathtaking visual response to the piece.
“There was only ever one band of musicians in mind for the reopening that we knew would be able to compose something daring, creatively exciting and musically ambitious for the moment that we welcome audiences back to Bristol Beacon,” said Todd Wills, Artistic Director at Bristol Beacon.
“We are so pleased that our regular collaborators Paraorchestra took up the challenge to compose a new work for our opening night, and that they have done so by interweaving innovative ways of working with artists Surgeons Girl and our friends Limbic Cinema.”
Tickets for Trip The Light Fantastic are now sold out but don’t worry if you missed out, there are plenty more incredible events happening at the Bristol Beacon this weekend.
What else is happening during the Bristol Beacon opening weekend?
A few days later, Bristol Beacon opening weekend will throw open its doors again for an all-day free party across the entire venue on Saturday, December 2. The Housewarming[/trackLink] will feature an all-Bristol line-up, going from 11am to 2am the next day, taking place across the entire venue. No ticket is required for this event, just turn up and enjoy! The weekend will round off with Bristol Beacon presents Penguin Cafe on Sunday, December 3 – Arthur Jeffes’ much-loved and highly acclaimed collective.
The newly renovated Bristol Beacon features several new performance spaces, including the 2000-capacity Beacon Hall, 500-capacity Lantern Hall and 200-capacity Weston Cellar. If you can’t make any of these, don’t fret, the Bristol Beacon is back for good with plenty of exciting events line-up for 2024.
[trackLink link_url="https://simplethingsfestival.co.uk/"]Simple Things Festival is expected to make its long-awaited return to the events hall sometime in the new year. While you’ll be able to see the likes of Paul Weller, Bombay Bicycle Club, Orbital, Paloma Faith, Jools Holland, and Sophie Ellis-Bextor all perform in the future. Comedy will also return to Bristol Beacon in December with performances from John Robins and Ross Noble, and Romesh Ranganathan, Stewart Lee, and Sarah Millican in the new year.
Obviously, there’s way too much happening at the Bristol Beacon in the coming months to list everything. But if you’d like to see what’s on we suggest heading here. Bristol Beacon, we’re just glad you’re back!