2016 Media Releases

Haven Amphitheatre Development Application Approved

15 December 2016

Willoughby Council has approved (Council Meeting of Monday 12 December) a Development Application for works at the much loved Haven Amphitheatre, Castlecrag, including stage replacement with a storeroom, accessible ramps, terrace, amenities, gully stabilisation and associated works. 
This follows a long period of collaboration between council, passionate community groups and committee to reach consensus and develop plans for the site that meet community needs, while also addressing engineering, environmental and historic factors.
The approved Development Application will see the addition of a new stage that includes a subfloor store room, toilet and decked area beneath the stage. Gully stabilisation and landscaping works will also take place. 
There will be construction of a sandstone elevated walkway and access from The Scarp with amenities room and connections below to the easternmost end of this structure. A turning area for wheelchair users will give access to a new curved timber ramp leading from the stone walkway area. 
Existing significant trees and vegetation will be retained and relocation and replanting will maintain the character of the site. 
Upgrades on the western side of the amphitheatre include those to existing stone seating and stone stairs. The addition of an accessible walkway, ramp and seating will allow people with all levels of mobility to access the site. The consent requires certain amendments to minimise impact on the natural environment and heritage significance of the site, while still ensuring equitable access for all. 
Council is currently completing $106,470 worth of baseline works, to make the site safe and publicly accessible. These works include removal of the unsafe stage and undercroft, creekline rehabilitation and terrace steps restoration. 
With the Development Application approved, community groups can now move ahead with fundraising for the project. 

  • The Haven Amphitheatre, Castlecrag is a unique performance space which brings the community together to enjoy cultural events in a natural bushland setting. 
  • The site’s history extends back to the 1920s when it was first designed by Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony, and used as a community theatre space, without a stage.  
  • In the 1930s the new residents of Castlecrag, with the help of local sculptor and stone mason Bim Hilder came together to construct “The New Haven Scenic Theatre” as their first community project.
  • The recently removed stage was redesigned by local architect Robert Sheldon and built by the community in 1976. 
  • The stage was upgraded by Council in 1992-94 with the assistance of a NSW Government grant - including an undercroft, 100sq.metre stage, underground power, lighting and seating for more than 300 people. 
  • The stage was at the end of its building life and was removed from active use in September 2016.  
  • Willoughby Council has been working with local Castlecrag community groups to develop plans for the site that meets community needs, while also addressing engineering, environmental and historic factors. 
  • Council considered a report on the future of the stage at its meeting on 14 December 2015, and endorsed the public exhibition of the preferred Option 1A for the new stage.
  • On 29 March 2016, Council progressed proposed plans for the Haven, endorsing baseline works to make the site safe and publicly accessible. These works are in progress.

Media Contact
Acting Marketing and Events Manager
Phone: 9777 7703
Mobile: 0455 061 700
Email: Samantha.Connor@Willoughby.nsw.gov.au 

For non media related enquiries contact Willoughby City Council on 9777 1000 or email@willoughby.nsw.gov.au