Features / Interviews

Behind the scenes at Colston Hall

By pamela parkes, Tuesday Feb 16, 2016

Meet some of the people who work behind the scenes at Colston Hall, who this month will be launching a New Ambition programme, setting out ambitious plans for providing accessible music education for young people, particularly to transform the musical aspirations of children with special needs and disabilities. 

Rosa Corbishley is head of development

“Fundraising can feel like a magic art to a lot of people but one needs to be very well organised and it’s all about research, research, research.

“I was attracted to the role because of the scale of the transformation project – it’s going to be the most beautiful hall in the UK.

“It’s about pride and aspiration in the city and having the most magical concert hall for the city that we can have.”

Marketing manager Andy Boreham

“With such a broad programme we have to go out there and find an audience and make sure people know what is going on in the hall.

“Big pop acts like Will Young and George Ezra are guaranteed an audience and our job is then tapping into that buzz.

“When it comes to more niche artists you have to sell the concept of it.  That’s quite challenging in terms of marketing but they are hugely rewarding.”

Elliot Prendergast is events coordinator

“I promote Colston Hall as a place for corporate events and conferences.

“It’s trying to support our cultural programme by generating income from other directions and we have great facilities here.

“I’ve been here since I was 16, working for the box office and then working my way up from the bottom. I didn’t think I would still be here but it’s good to know you can progress in the workplace.”

Siggy Patchitt is Colston Hall’s education manager

“We are unique in the country as the only education hub which has a concert hall. Kids come here to perform and young up-and-coming artists can talk to the headline artists and get support and advice.

“Every single day is different – I can be on our Southmead site, meeting with session leaders, meeting partners in London, packing up instruments.

“It’s incredibly varied and incredibly exciting.”

Matt Aitken books the acts which appear on stage

“We want our programme to be varied and as well as the big hitters we want to bring in acts that you won’t see anywhere else.

“I work with agents, local promoters and bands – meeting up with people and going to festivals to find new bands.

“Big Geoff puts his suggestions forward as well – if he’s not here you have done something wrong and there is a better gig in town.”

Technician Frazer Riches is responsible for the lighting and sound

“Some shows bring all their own equipment with them and turn up at 9am with a couple of trucks out the back and we give them the stage.

“Other shows use our in-house facilities – we come to an agreement about what they want and what we can provide – we meet in the middle usually.

“It’s automated in some sense but in another you just busk it on the night.” 

Jon Collins manages the Colston Hall box office

“Colston Hall is a special thing within Bristol. It’s part of your musical life.

“The hall is part of the fabric of the cultural life of the city – it goes down generations. One of my daughters brought my mum down here for a concert, their tickets were checked by another of my daughters and I had printed the tickets in the first place.

“Colston Hall is like a big village hall for the people of Bristol.”


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