Yesterday, the day we thought would never come was here at last – we finally enjoyed a performance in the completed ‘Beacon Hall’ in all its glory – and what a treat it was! The last six years of hard work by so many, inside and outside of Levitt Bernstein, came to a conclusion and was celebrated in style. The Bristol based Paraorchestra, in collaboration with Surgeons Girl, Charles Hazlewood, and Limbic Cinema, performed a specially commissioned piece to celebrate the grand reopening of the Beacon. It felt like the days long gone by - a world premiere in a world class music venue.
The building provided the perfect envelope for this immersive performance, which had everything from classical instruments - amplified through the new PA speaker system - mixed in with electronic dance tunes and incredible projection mapping video and laser light performances, using the new interior fabric of the building as a canvas. The building handled it all with ease, making it feel like part of the performance itself. The possibilities this venue will provide are endless.
Sitting in the space as a spectator and taking it all in, reflecting on the last 5 years, is quite emotional. As Mark Lewis said, “These projects only come around every 20 years or so”, and I feel privileged to have contributed to the creation of this beautiful space. Sitting there, one feels the intimacy this venue offers - you are never too far away from the performer, whether you sit in the stalls or the balconies.
The Bristol Beacon will rank amongst the finest music venues in the country and I am sure will hold its own - if not even exceed - the likes of the Gateshead or Birmingham Symphony Hall. It can cater for immersive performances like the one yesterday, pop and classical music or the spoken word. The Beacon will handle it all effortlessly.
What the team has achieved here is truly amazing. Having endured such adversity - from Brexit, a global pandemic, war in Eastern Europe, resulting in material shortages, energy crises and general economic struggles – a lesser project team may have thrown in the towel. Having been able to stay true to the design concept and deliver the original vision is even more impressive.
We enjoyed a wonderful evening, finally able to see it all through the visitors’ eyes and marvel at what teamwork and tenacity can achieve. A truly spectacular venue for generations to come!