New Stage for The Haven

The old stage could have been repaired?

Please see   2014 asset report


The deferred DA provisions have been reported by Council officers to be almost complete. We expect the Council DA to be completed in October 2017.



Trent Zimmerman MP


The Haven Amphitheatre, Castlecrag

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Mr Speaker,

Our national capital is linked to parts of my own electorate through the visionary hands of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahoney Griffin.

Just as they shaped Canberra as the bush capital, so the Griffins were responsible for the celebrated planning and architecture of Castlecrag.

Their vision was for a suburb created in harmony with the area’s natural bushland and founded in a strong sense of community.

In the early 1930s Marion Mahoney Griffin established the Haven Valley Scenic Theatre to help bring the community together.

The theatre was formed by the landscape of a Castlecrag gully and allowed theatre goers to witness productions under moonlight and the stars, surrounded by majestic eucalypts and the colour of wattle blooms.

Sadly, the theatre fell into disrepair, but was salvaged through the efforts of the local community in the mid-1970s.

Today the community is again rallying to ensure its future.

I was therefore thrilled to be able to attend the Sydney premiere of a spectacular circus opera, The Carnival, at the Chatswood Concourse to help raise funds for the rebuilding of the Haven amphitheatre stage.

The three performances raised over $58,000, and I want to congratulate all those involved in what was a major undertaking.

Willoughby Council has allocated funds for the restoration of the Haven, which will need to be matched by contributions from the community. Their attendance at The Carnival demonstrates just how committed residents are to achieving this goal.

I hope it will not be too long before the Haven once again is restored to its unique place in the community and cultural life of our city.




Trent Zimmerman MP


The Haven Amphitheatre, Castlecrag

Statement on the Haven Amphitheatre to the House of Representa…

Earlier today I spoke about Castlecrag's Haven Amphitheatre in the House of Representatives. Congratulations to all those in the community who are working so hard to see it restored.

Posted by Trent Zimmerman on Tuesday, February 28, 2017



Progress for The Haven Amphitheatre

Willoughby Council passes Deferred Commencement DA.






Mr Ian Arnott corrected the mistake in the officers report.

Memo To: Mayor Gail and Councillors
Memo From: Ian Arnott
Date: 12.12.16
Subject: Item 18.1 Upgrade to Haven Amphitheatre (DA2016/283)


Mayor Gail and Councillors,


Concern has been raised that Attachment 3 (Detailed Consideration of Submissions) of Item 18.1 (Haven Amphitheatre), for consideration at tonight’s meeting, has misquoted a submission.

Issue 4 attributed to the submission from Dr P Stokes representing a number of community groups and adjacent neighbours incorrectly states that the submission requests a reduction in the size of the stage. The final submission from Dr P Stokes on behalf of the community groups and neighbours, which supersedes a preliminary submission lodged, does not request a reduction in the size of the stage.

I apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.


Ian Arnott



The DA proposal by CAB consulting and council has a $1,300,000 price tag?

The stage replacement concept put up by the Haven Amphitheatre Committee 4 years ago was under $400,000

A large hole has been left following the removal of the condemned stage.


Removal of the cement sheet stage and timber support structure revealed many of the major wooden support piles had rotted in the ground – to be expected after 40 years in this damp location.

The creek has travelled under the stage in this constructed drainage channel and recent work has been done to cement the rocks in place to minimise erosion with the stage removed.


 The removal of the stage has left a large  hole in the landscape

The white string line is the CAB consulting recommended height and sides of of their new stage proposal. Now the  old stage has been removed it is apparent that the height and shape are perhaps not the desired option for this heritage site. The green line is an elliptical plan submitted to council 4 years ago. Given the nature of the site it is apparent the creek could be lowered rather than the stage raised.

We note the triangular form appears to stand on the landscape. The elliptical stage sits in the valley.

This is the document sent as a joint community response to the Council DA. 06/10/2016

The WBGS have sent their own response documents.

Joint submission to DA-2016/283 Alterations and additions to Haven Amphitheatre including stage replacement with a storeroom, accessible ramps and terrace and associated works.

From: Haven Amphitheatre Committee, Castlecrag Progress Association, Castlecrag Conservation Society, Willoughby Environmental Protection Association, The Friends of the Haven and adjacent neighbours David Shteinman (1 The Scarp) and Glen & Catriona Gulliver  (15 The Barricade).

We are pleased that Willoughby City Council has lodged its DA for the reconstruction of the Haven Amphitheatre in Castlecrag for public comment. The above Castlecrag community groups and neighbours wish to respond to the DA with a joint submission.

We are mindful of the considerable work that has gone into this DA and note that the existing stage has been demolished. Only now, with the stage gone and with the height poles in place, have we been able to properly assess the proposed design.

The community places great value on the cultural heritage of the Haven. Our overarching goal is to see the Haven returned as a functional outdoor theatre and undercroft, as soon as is possible. At the same time, we wish to see a reduction in the proposed scope of the landscaping, access and terrace reconstruction activities so that the project’s impact on the site and its cost can be minimized.

In particular, we would like  to suggest the following changes to the DA:

  1. Change the shape and orientation of the proposed stage to an elliptical Such a stage should minimise the need for excavation on the eastern slope and would minimise the visual impact on the adjacent neighbours. It would also preserve the sight lines to the stage from both the western and northern terraces while retaining the amphitheatre nature of the site that has prevailed  since the 1970s.
  2. Reduce the ceiling height in the undercroft from 5 metres to 2.1 metres in accordance with BCA (c) and, if possible, move the stage further down the creek. Given the size of the space and the extent of previous work on the water course, this might enable a significant lowering of the stage, closer to the level of the old  stage, while retaining  both adequate undercroft ceiling  height and clearance to the watercourse.

  1. Explore the possibility of providing an access ramp, for wheel chairs and carers, to the western (Barricade) terrace from the southwestern corner. This would not only avoid the impact of the proposed access ramp from The Scarp but also substantially reduce the total cost of the project
  2. If access from the Barricade is not possible, consider locating all three disabled spaces to the northern terrace. This would remove the need for an accessible pathway across the western terrace and for the proposed viewing platform at the southern end of the western
  3. Do everything possible by way of design to preserve all the existing stone seating, not just the top rows of the western We believe that the lower parts of the western terrace are of great heritage value, both historical and cultural. The original seats were built in 1934 and although there appears to have been considerable work done on them in the 1970s, they form an integral part of the atmosphere and ambience of the place. Consequently, we do not wish the seats to be disturbed except as is  necessary for safety reasons.
  4. Ensure that as many as possible of the existing trees in the site be preserved and protected, not just the four trees identified in the Arborist’s

In closing, we believe that all possible steps should be taken to minimise the impact of the project on the site so that as much as possible of the character and ambience of the old Haven  Amphitheatre is preserved.


Dr Paul Stokes,

For and on behalf of the five community groups, and neighbours adjacent to the Haven.

Council Have your say on the 2016/2017 budget

The council have your say on the proposed 2016/2017 budget had;

23 Responses, emails and letters in support of the Haven Stage Project

4 on other matters—Minutes/General-Council-Meetings/2016-06-27/

May 2016

Council Budget 2016/2017

No allowance made in the 2016/17 budget for a new stage.

It is planned to remove the old stage and restore the site.

The suggestion of some dollar for dollar funding in 17/18 is for a new council or the administrator and cannot be relied on.

The program is listed  8 out of 9 as a priority in funding.



February 2016

The Stage project did not meet the required dead lines to be included in the 2016/2017 financial allocations

Where are we at September 2015?

Several plans have been presented, however none have met the Council approved specification. Plans have been taken back by the architects  for revision and we expect to be presented with the latest iteration early October 2015.

Functional specification approved by council on 28 July 2014


1. The functional specification for the Haven Amphitheatre improvements, as per Attachment 2 dated 14 July 2014 be adopted and be used to prepare design options for community consultation to renew / refurbish the Haven Amphitheatre.

2. Community consultation on the design options for a new open–air theatre take place with a subsequent report to Council, detailing proposed costings and results of the community consultation.

MOVED COUNCILLOR ERIKSSON SECONDED COUNCILLOR HOOPER CARRIED Voting For the Motion: Councillors Giles-Gidney, Eriksson, Hill, Hooper, Mustaca, Norton, Rozos and Sloane. Against: Councillors Coppock, Rutherford, Saville and Wright.

(see  “Amphitheatre Stage replacement progress”  for full details of the officers report and council minutes.)


1-Haven Amphitheatre -WCC spec July 2014 (3)     

Click on above link for pdf


The Haven Amphitheatre Committee’s Stage Project Requirements (29 May 2014)

– as referred to in the above Functional Specification approved by Council on 28 July 2014

  The Haven Amphitheatre Stage project

Haven stage overlay

The proposed stage profile

Required is

A code compliant structure built to provide a modern low maintenance open air theatre facility for the next 50 plus years.

  • Temporary stage cover.
  • Ramps stage left and right from the stage to the undercroft.
  • A dry lockable undercroft comprising, Toilet and shower facility, Kitchenette, Green Room, Dehumidified technical room, Storage.
  • Provision for disabled attendance.


The architect will detail the design, actual layout and materials.


The Stage

Say approximately 120 m square. A minimal increase in size.

See Appendix. “Proposed Stage Geometery”.

Demountable Stage Canopy

 Control desk

The existing desk will be used with provision for a temporary umbrella and clear sides.

Ticket position and disabled viewing platform

  1. A small platform 2000 x 4000 mm will be installed to the northern side of the top of the main staircase from the Barricade.

Timber seats across the creek

New well-constructed seating to be spanned across the creek at the northern edge of the stage.

The Undercroft

A dry contained area to maximize all the available space under the stage eighty m2 or more.


With hot water.

Undercroft Technical Room a Secure (dry) Audio Lighting Equipment Room

Stage speaker mountings

Provision will be made for speaker support columns in the hand rail design

Stage boxes

Six lockable stage boxes for Audio, communications, 240v power and lighting dimmers.

Control desk box

This waterproof lockable facility box.

Three existing remote lighting box outlets (currently installed)

Two remote lighting boxes at the  front stage level (new) located under the proposed creek bench   seats

Disabled Portaloo Platform

Current portable toilet location configured for a disabled Portaloo


The bridge structure is to be reviewed and replaced as required.

Emergency and house lighting

The Non interruptible power supplies will be relocated to the secure dry technical space in the undercroft.

Areas (approx.)

  • Stage                                                                           120 m2
  • Undercroft Total                                                     >80 m2
  • Toilet wash room                                                      10 m2
  • Kitchen Catering                                                        10 m2
  • Green Room                                                               14 m2
  • Make up                                                                       10 m2
  • Technical secure room                                            12 m2
  • Storage                                                                         24 m2
  • Ticket Booth                                                                  8 m2


conceptural stage diagram