Work is underway behind the scenes to bring a series of high-end outdoor performance events to Manly’s North Head from October through to November this year.
The North Head Concert Series, Night at the Barracks, is flagged to be staged over 20 nights at the historical North Head Artillery Barracks in the marching ground and feature Australia’s leading ballet, dance, orchestra, classic opera and musical theatre talent, as well as other contemporary performances yet to be announced.
The event is supported by the Manly Tourism and Economic Recovery Taskforce and the Manly Business Chamber. It has received federal funding through the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) fund and Northern Beaches Council recently voted to contribute $50,000 towards the arts program in recognition of local impacts to the arts and entertainment sector during the COVID lockdowns.
The contribution is subject to a local private events company Second Sunday PTY Ltd obtaining all necessary approvals.
Council’s media unit has been a little cagey on any further details as apparently some kind of contract negotiations are still taking place, but it looks set to go ahead as detailed above.
What the local reps say
Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham said Manly MP James Griffin had led the push to get major funding for the event and Council was happy to do its bit too.
“Night at the Barricks is a great initiative. Not only will it provide much needed work for our performance industy it will bring an amazing program of cultural events for the Northern Beaches.
“I understand performances by the likes of the Sydney Dance Company, James Morrison, Ballet, Opera and concerts are proposed over 20 nights.
“It will provide a much needed boost for Manly’s local businesses “.
James Griffin said the series was an exciting example of what can be done on the site.
“I’m proud of the work done via the Manly Tourism and Economic Recovery Taskforce in securing funding from the Federal Government to support this event. I’m looking forward to the concert series setting the example for future program and use of North Head.”
Beaches councillor Rory Amon, who put his name to the motion to hand over the cash, said he thought the series was “bound to be a a valuable boost to tourism, local visitation, and economic activity, as we swing from Spring into Summer.
“The concerts will occur at the barracks on the marching ground and is hoped to provide employment for up to 650 performers and event staff.
“The is a wonderful initiative, making use of an historically significant space on North Head. Not only will this create jobs for our artistic and events community who so desperately need support but this will also create a unique and innovative event series, unrivalled in location or style anywhere in Sydney,” he said.
Concert series a sign of things to come
The concert series may be a glimpse into the longer term future use of the site – if the community wishes it – with new plans for the future use of the site now being finalised.
The two initiatives proposed will be at North Fort and the Artillery Barracks precinct.
The Artillery Barracks Precinct will be conserved but with adaptive reuse of one of the main buildings and the parade ground through “the creation of a public event asset”.
This is where the evening concert series has jumped the gun (at an artillery precinct no less) and been funded and organised ahead of plans being finalised. It will, perhaps, act as a good test for how the site works as an event space.
The second significant change will be in North Fort Precinct, which will focus on the military installations already present but also incorporate an environmental education centre, a First Nations welcoming space and an accessible pathway through native gardens.
You can view full details here and there are also virtual workshops planned starting next week.
Register for a virtual workshop (18 May to 1 June)
Between 18 May and 1 June, Harbour Trust will be hosting a series of one-hour virtual workshops. These interactive sessions are an opportunity for attendees to share their thoughts and insights on the future of North Head Sanctuary and provide feedback on the Harbour Trust’s Draft Concept. Please register early to avoid disappointment. Virtual workshops are being run on the following dates:
- Tuesday 18 May (12:30pm to 1:30pm)
- Wednesday 19 May (6pm to 7pm)
- Monday 24 May (12:30pm to 1:30pm)
- Tuesday 1 June (5pm to 6pm)
For more information visit Harbour Trust’s website.