STAGE HISTORY

The existing Haven Amphitheatre stage was built in 1976 and substantially rebuilt in the early 1990s. It had reached the end of its design life and was closed by Willoughby City Council in early 2014 due to concerns with its safety.


In 2011 local eminent architect James Fitzpatrick and the Haven Amphitheatre Committee (HAC) commenced a process to examine the existing Haven stage with a view to refurbishment. The resulting architectural and engineering report stated that, although the stage could possibly be repaired, it was nearing the end of its life and a total replacement was the most realistic and cost effective option. 


After extensive community consultation, all interested community groups supported a design option presented by Willoughby City Council. In December 2016, Council approved a deferred commencement Development Application and subsequently resolved to "provide a maximum allocation of $544,000 in 2017/2018 subject to matching dollar-for-dollar from community donations and grants. The project and funding will be allocated within the Long Term Financial Plan for 2017/2018." The 2017/2018 Budget included a further Contingency of $300,000.

The $544,000 allocation represented half the estimated cost, the difference requiring funding by the community and grants. 

Haven Promotions Incorporated (HPI), a not-for-profit registered charity, launched a fundraising campaign to help rebuild The Haven stage. HPI produced Chloe Charody's spectacular circus opera, The Carnival, in 2017 and Patricia O'Callaghan sings Leonard Cohen featuring the Canadian cabaret sensation in 2018 at The Concourse Theatre, Chatswood. Enormous public awareness and financial support was generated by these international shows which played to capacity audiences in excess of 1600.

Council finally approved a deferred Development Application in March 2018.

No further action has been taken due to strong community opposition to the planned access requirement alterations to the stone seating and to certain stage design features.

The Haven Community Coalition was convened by Hugh Stowe in April 2021 to explore whether a broad community consensus can be forged on an alternative stage design to the present DA approved plans, and then to re-engage with Council in relation to the redevelopment of the Haven. The Coalition committee comprises representatives from each of the interested community groups.