November 17 - 23, 2019: Issue 429


the long awaited Barrenjoey Community Performance Space officially opened

Top: Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes, below: The Hon. Rob Stokes and Barrenjoey High School Principal Ian Bowsher - photos by Michael Mannington.

Barrenjoey High School was delighted to host the Official Opening of the Barrenjoey Community Performance Space on Friday November 15th 2019. The school has dedicated the space to Principal Ian Bowsher, the gentleman who has been behind so many local projects coming to fruition for the younger members of our community - the Avalon Youth Hub among them. 

Committee: Richard Cole, Cilla Cole, Ian Bowsher, Kalinda Hawson, Christy Bishop, Kim Hoggard - photo by Michael Mannington

Officially opened by the Hon Rob Stokes MP Member for Pittwater, Mr Jason Falinski MP for Mackellar, Barrenjoey School Principal Ian Bowsher, and members of the P&C Steering Committee Cilla Cole, Richard Cole, Kalinda Hawson, Kim Hoggard and Christy Bishop were also part of the proceedings. Mr. Wayne Brown of Brown Bros. Skip Bins, Gold Sponsors of the building, who regularly supply bins for school working bees for no fee and kicked in 10 thousand dollars to see the project realised, also attended the opening.  

The Barrenjoey Community Performance Space is a purpose built, architecturally designed theatre with state of the art audio visual equipment and tiered seating for 200 people as well as an art gallery space. The building supports the vision of the school to better showcase the talents of students and the wider community.  

The project has been led by the school’s P&C Association who spent the past five years fundraising through such events as the Full Moon Markets and 'buy a brick' campaign as well as successfully securing local, state and federal government grants to deliver the Performance Space at a cost of approximately $1.9M.

School Infrastructure NSW managed the build and delivered the original Richard Cole Architecture concept drawings through SARM Architects and Clifford Constructions to completion.  The aim and result was to provide a genuine educational and community facility.

Barrenjoey High School has always recognised the unique artistic and creative talent of its local community and has created multiple platforms where students can showcase those talents. The wider community can experience high quality art exhibits, drama and musical performances.  

Principal Ian Bowsher said today, “The exciting part of this build has been the genuine support from all areas of the community, from local member Rob Stokes to local businesses who are now able to utilise the venue.”

“The benefits it will provide to the school and the wider community are enormous as it will further support the development of our exceptionally talented performing artists, musicians and community groups.” 

Pittwater's MP secured $1.234 for the project overall; $124,000 under the NSW Government’s Infrastructure Grants Program and a further $50,000 under the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund.  Earlier funding contributions included $1 million under the NSW Government’s Stronger Communities Fund and $60,000 under the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership Program.

Mr Rob Stokes stated, “This project is a great example of the school community and the government working together and I’m really looking forward to attending events here.” 

“Barrenjoey High School has a proud reputation as a leader in performing arts education and this type of dedicated space will support this into the future” Mr Stokes reiterates.

The construction of the purpose-built community performance space is one of several improvements the school and its community have undertaken in recent years. The building of the much needed school hall could not have been possible without that support and commitment, as well as other projects such as the outdoor BBQ area, the Art Shed and the Art Gallery.  

Guy Hawson, teacher visual arts with BHS Mural - the work is 6m x 4.8m, theme is rock pool and/or ocean - photo by Michael Mannington

The school leadership has consistently worked hard to successfully access grants and state funding which has resulted in new technology in the classrooms, new hospitality kitchens, resurfaced basketball courts and significantly improved landscaping.  The various programs built around achieving high educational outcomes have been extremely effective, including the “Senior Study” library facility, advanced HSC course offerings, tutoring programs, and PCS sharing of HSC courses to provide a wider choice of subjects for students.  HSC results have significantly improved, particularly over the last decade, were students are achieving at the highest levels.

Barrenjoey has always recognised the unique artistic and creative talent of our local community and has created multiple platforms where students can showcase those talents, and the wider community can experience high quality art exhibits and drama and musical performances.  The hugely popular Music Room regularly features student talent as well as professional musical groups, and the School’s MADD nights have been widely embraced as a great way for students of all year levels to stage music, dance and drama performances for the whole community.  The BHS concert and jazz bands regularly feature in competitions and local community events - that's the BHS band you hear playing at the annual ANZAC Day Services and no market day is complete without the talented younger musicians of the community offering up their compositions. 

The Barrenjoey Community Performance Space supports the vision of the school's leadership to better showcase the talents of our students and the wider community.  

A performance of Oliver is scheduled for after the Christmas-New Years 2019-2020 break and as the design lends itself acoustically to sounding that soft true note, all those who have called for years for a place and stage where great music may be accessed will now have a venue designed and built for just that purpose.

Presented by Avalon Architect Richard Cole, the plaque reads 'Go out and create that new and bold world with a positive purpose'. Ian Bowsher, Principal - photo by Michael Mannington

Main photos by Michael Mannington of Community Photography. Base photo supplied.