For over 100 years, the site now home to The Concourse has been the home of performing arts, community celebrations and civic ceremonies. The Concourse carries on these traditions and provides world-class entertainment facilities for the next generation.
The site of The Concourse, previously known as Civic Place, has housed buildings of public significance and been recognised as an important part of the local community for decades. The first Willoughby Town Hall was built on the site in 1903 and was later extended in 1967 to include a three storey administration building.
In 1972, the original Town Hall was demolished and replaced by a new Civic Centre, comprising the Town Hall which seated 850 people, and the smaller Bailey Hall, which seated 350. This building was constructed at a cost of approximately one million dollars and played an essential part in Willoughby City’s community and culture for many years.
The Town Hall was primarily designed to house the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and was subsequently equipped with technical facilities to accommodate orchestral performances. The hall hosted many different types of performances, as well as functions and exhibitions. The Bailey Hall was designed as a multi-function space, providing an area for functions and receptions, as well as facilities for the performance of drama and musical theatre.
Although enormously successful when they were built, by the mid 1990’s the public facilities at the Civic Centre were no longer able to meet the needs of the Willoughby City community, nor the ever-growing number of regional users. It became clear that Willoughby City Council needed to create a centrepiece – a heart and soul for the CBD that would meet the future growth for library services, open space and cultural/community facilities.
The site of The Concourse is possibly the most important public site owned by Willoughby City Council and certainly one of the most valuable. The many opportunities it offers to the local and regional resident, visitor and business communities demanded comprehensive, intelligent and long term planning for its redevelopment. The architectural design for The Concourse was completed in 2007 and the following year the existing buildings were demolished and the commencement of construction began.
The Concourse opened in September 2011, and continues a century old tradition of performing arts, community celebrations and civic ceremonies and offers both local and regional visitors a unique mix of venues for live theatre, dance, music, business events and exhibitions. It’s facilities include a Theatre, Concert Hall, Civic Pavilion, Rehearsal Centre and Art Space . The stunningly designed precinct also features Chatswood Library – one of the largest libraries on the North Shore; an outdoor Urban Screen; two open green spaces, restaurants, cafés and retail stores, making The Concourse the perfect meeting place for all occasions.