An initiative of Willoughby City Council, The Concourse is the cultural home of the North Shore. It is one of Sydney’s leading entertainment venues, home to a dynamic range of live arts and entertainment.
The outdoor Urban Screen is programmed full of free public entertainment including digital art, open air cinema, live sporting events, news and national events and live broadcasts of sold out performances.
The stunningly designed precinct includes two open green spaces, restaurants, cafés and retail stores, making The Concourse the perfect meeting place for all occasions.
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.
The extraordinary Willoughby Symphony has blossomed into an exceptional orchestra of international standard. The Willoughby Symphony is widely celebrated for captivating performances that showcase the orchestra’s incredible virtuosity across the entire symphonic repertoire. They play at The Concourse up to 25 times a year.
It is renowned for an outstanding annual series of concerts that encompasses beloved orchestral classics, innovative music presentation styles, and family-oriented productions that engage and delight audiences of all ages.
The musicians bring artistic integrity and visceral excitement to their intoxicating performances, uniting in a shared vision of music and community. They are a tight-knit group with a rich and supportive culture, and their enthusiasm and passion for music is obvious in every concert. Each year sees them build on the last, with the orchestra hosting Australia’s most exciting emerging artists and composers, and pushing the boundaries of classical music. Not only do they deliver revelatory performances of the classics, they bring energy and flair to rock and pop music. They are also committed to making music inviting and accessible to all, with two children’s concerts each year inspiring the next generation of musicians and music lovers.
The Willoughby Symphony has been led since 2001 by internationally celebrated orchestral icon and local legend, chief conductor and artistic director, Dr Nicholas Milton AM. Renowned for his charismatic stage presence, powerful interpretations and compelling musical integrity, Dr Milton continues to attract international attention as one of the most outstanding Australian conductors working today. Formerly general music director and chief conductor of the State Opera House in Saarbrücken, Nicholas is currently chief conductor and artistic director of the Göttingen Symphony Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the North German Philharmonic Orchestra (Rostock). Despite a vibrant international schedule, the Grammy-nominated conductor remains passionately committed to the Willoughby Symphony.
The Concourse would not be the remarkable facility it is without the support of our patrons, The Hon Robert J L Hawke AC, Australian rock icon Angry Anderson AM, renowned arts practitioner and author Renée Goossens, distinguished soprano Yvonne Kenny, internationally acknowledged Australian poet Les Murray and one of Australia’s most successful authors Matthew Reilly.
Angry Anderson AM, Rock Icon
Australian rock icon Angry Anderson AM fronted the legendary Australian rock band, Rose Tattoo. Angry has established himself as a campaigner on social issues and has become an advocate and role model for the youth of today. In 1993 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia for his work with youth. As a father of four, Angry is thrilled at the opportunities The Concourse will provide for young people.
“Music is here to save our souls and can help young people find direction. Our community, our young people, will come to The Concourse to make music. They will be able to develop their skills, to create, to write, to express their ideas and their passions and to perform on the same stage as internationally renowned artists.”
Renée Goossens, Author and Arts Practitioner
Renée Goossens is an arts practitioner and author. During her extraordinary life she has been a teacher, medical researcher, community worker, lecturer, translator, language coach to many opera singers, family therapist, counsellor, administrator, editor and author.
A member of the Willoughby City Council Access Committee, her community work as a volunteer and adviser regarding access issues has not only been invaluable, but also very practical for our project.
“Built with the love and respect for a multi cultural community, this cultural and entertainment centre stimulates growth, fosters talent and excellence in performance and literature for generations to come. Accessible to all, it offers acoustical perfection and a variety of venues. It also offers the largest library in New South Wales”.
Yvonne Kenny AM, Soprano
Yvonne Kenny is one of the most distinguished sopranos of her generation. Born in Sydney, she went to London and made her operatic debut in 1975. Ms Kenny was made a Member of the Order of Australia for Services to Music in 1989, and in 1999 was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the University of Sydney.
Now living in London, Ms Kenny has fond memories of growing up in Northbridge and Willoughby, and performing with Chatswood’s Willoughby Musical Society. She often returns to Sydney, and is thrilled an arts and cultural centre is a focus of building a ‘heart and soul’ for the North Shore in Chatswood.
“My journey as a singer began as a teenager performing in the old Willoughby Town Hall. Those early beginnings were the seed of an international career – my love of performing began there. I think it is brilliant that Willoughby City Council is taking this opportunity to really invest in the future of its children. I look forward to performing in The Concourse myself.”
Les Murray AO, Poet
Les Murray, internationally acknowledged as Australia’s leading poet, has been a prolific local voice for more than 40 years. Celebrated nationally and around the world, Murray’s long list of achievements include the prestigious TS Eliot Award, the Queen’s Medal for Poetry, and both the NSW and Victorian Premier’s Awards. A Willoughby City resident for 14 years, and long time Willoughby City Library patron, Mr Murray is honoured to serve as a patron for The Concourse.
“As a supporter and user of the Willoughby Library, I am greatly impressed by the increased size of the new library, and the breadth and quality of the additional arts and cultural facilities. Listening to descriptions of private study rooms, meeting rooms, state-of-the-art IT facilities and lovely sunny and shaded spaces for quiet reading, it sounds to me as though the new library will be a great match for the many enthusiastic visitors it receives.”
Matthew Reilly, Author
Matthew Reilly was born in 1974 in Sydney. He started writing Contest while attending university, and finished it in 1994 at only 19 years of age.
Matthew earned degrees in both Arts and Law. During this time, he repeatedly tried to have Contest noticed by one of the major publishing houses in Sydney, but every one rejected his manuscript. Matthew published the book himself – creating 1,000 copies at $8 each.
One of Australia’s most successful young authors, Matthew Reilly researched his international bestseller Ice Station at Chatswood Library.
“For any writer, it all starts at your local library. Chatswood Library on The Concourse offers the next generation of Willoughby-born writers an opportunity to work in a marvellous state-of-the-art facility – right on their own door step.”
The Hon Robert J L Hawke AC (1929-2019)
The Hon Robert J L Hawke AC, Australian Prime Minister from March 1983 until December 1991 and Willoughby resident, said encouraging the growth of centres around Sydney through learning and the arts was a cause to be passionate about.
“As Patron for this ambitious project, I believe The Concourse will be a catalyst for supporting a vibrant commercial centre for Sydney – while also fostering a stronger sense of local community.”
Willoughby City Council is committed to integrating a variety of art into its public spaces. The Concourse has a number of impressive and unique works of art integrated in its architectural design.
FACES OF WILLOUGHBY
Faces of Willoughby is the largest community photographic project ever conducted in Willoughby City. The mural comprises of individual photographic portraits of more than 2,000 Willoughby residents taken as part of the 2010 Willoughby Spring Festival. The photographs were digitally blended together to form a six-picture series of male and female composite portraits to reflect the ancestry, age and gender make-up of the entire Willoughby community. The digital images are displayed on screens surrounded by a collage of the individual portraits and historic photographs of Willoughby.
Faces of Willoughby celebrates Willoughby as the City of Diversity, reflecting our rich multiculturalism and strong sense of community in an interactive and imaginative way. The project recognises that everyone has a role in the ongoing life of the community. The mural is a visual archive for the future and celebrates Willoughby’s cultural heritage.
Location: Ground Floor Foyer, The Concourse
by Wendy Mills
Encompassing the entire space of the water court on The Concourse’s open space, Wendy Mills’ Visiting Enki comprises of a boat-like open framework as the focal point of the installation, with a counterbalance of scattered, grey shapes on the floor below the water.
Inspired by an ancient Sumerian myth, Visiting Enki follows the story of Inanna, the queen of heaven, who travels in her sky-boat to visit Enki, the lord of wisdom, for a convivial night of feasting and drinking. Enki gives Inanna his divine decrees in a moment of generosity, but he deeply regrets his action the next morning and commands her boat be set upon by sea monsters. Escaping her pursuers, Inanna uses the decrees to establish a new order of civilization and culture in her city.
Australian visual artist Wendy Mills has created a range of works throughout her career, from temporary installations, interactive computer works, to commissioned public art. Much of her artwork is characterised by an underlying geometry and the use of translucent and reflective materials such as water and light.
Location: Outdoor Space, The Concourse
by Warren Langley
Designed specifically for the architectural space in the upstairs Foyer on The Concourse, Warren Langley’s Ingress is a suspended light installation of sustainable LED lights that illuminate a blue glow. With a configuration that implies a sense of movement towards the Concert Hall entry, the sculpture is a lateral interpretation of the concept of a chandelier, representing memorable chandeliers that appear in performance spaces, opera theatres and concert halls around the world.
An internationally acclaimed light and glass artist, Warren Langley has won a number of industry awards, including a silver prize at the International Exhibition of Glass Art in 1988. Warren’s work is represented in the National Collection and most state galleries in Australia.
Location: Second Floor Foyer, The Concourse
Connect with and inspire your customers through corporate partnership of The Concourse, one of Sydney’s leading entertainment and events precincts. Through sponsorship of The Concourse, your company can maximise your branding potential and associate your corporate image with outstanding performing arts programs and events on Sydney’s North Shore.
Individual Corporate Partnerships are can be tailored to suit your specific marketing, entertaining and corporate relationship requirements. We can offer a unique and bespoke package to suit your corporate needs.
The Concourse is also delighted to offer a number of individual event or festival sponsorship packages, enabling businesses to target specific audiences. Past event sponsorship opportunities have included Vivid Sydney in Chatswood, The Chatswood Family Festival and Emerge Festival.
For more information please contact: Juliet Rosser, Festival and Events Producer, 9777 7976
COVID-19 Prevention and Mitigation Policy
COVID-19 Prevention and Mitigation Policy
The Concourse Performing Arts Centre will continue to operate in accordance with NSW Government COVID-19 Restrictions
For the safety of our patrons, staff and performers The Concourse Performing Arts Centre will continue to operate with the following protective measures in place:
In line with NSW government regulations patrons and performers will no longer be required to show vaccination status
Wearing a face mask is strongly recommended, but not mandatory under the NSW Government’s latest rules.
QR Code Sign-In
QR code sign is strongly recommended, but not mandatory, when entering the venue
Under the Health Order venues are now permitted to operate at 100% of capacity
Patrons should be aware that under a 100% seated capacity that they may be seated next to or in the immediate vicinity of other people within the venue
The Concourse Performing Arts Centre is a registered COVID safe facility
The Concourse team have been working hard to ensure that shows and events can continue to take place whilst ensuring that we all stay safe. The health and safety of our visitors, performers, clients and staff is always our highest priority.
What We Are Doing
All patrons and staff are encouraged to use hand sanitizer
Unwell patrons and staff will not be permitted to enter the venue.
Staff will wear rubber gloves when cleaning
All high touch surfaces will be cleaned after each performance, these include handrails, door knobs and push plates, seat armrests, toilet facilities.
Contactless payment facilities are in place and patrons are encouraged to utilise them in preference to cash
Terms & Conditions
Terms & Conditions
The Concourse is owned by Willoughby City Council and the performing arts venues are managed by Century Venues on behalf of Council.
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