The Glen Street Complex
Built by the community, for the community, now a living heritage
The need for the forest community centre grew out of the 1970s population growth in Belrose, Davidson, and Frenchs Forest. The community’s vision for the centre was to provide a venue for local youth, performing arts and cultural groups.
The Forest Community Association took up the cause and by 1976 the concept of Forest Community Centre was approved by Warringah Council.
The Forest Community Association worked very effectively throughout the next 28 years. It was a relatively small organisation of dedicated residents working together for a better community with an emphasis on youth.
Stage One consisted of the Forest Squash Centre. The squash courts were leased in 1979 and provided a source of income for the centre. Today that area houses Energise Health Club.
Stage Two, which included a 400-seat theatre, officially opened in 1985. The purpose of Glen Street Theatre was to provide facilities for community groups as well as attracting professional theatre productions to Warringah. The theatre was followed by Sorlies Restaurant, which opened in 1987. The Forest Community Association contributed hard-earned funds to the complex and members who were on the original project team later served on the Advisory Board.
The Forest Youth Theatre Company was thriving during this period and the addition of the theatre at the centre enabled this young, vital company to present their productions in a professional environment.
Since the early 1990s, Glen Street Theatre has programmed a professional subscription series as well as providing community access to the venue. The theatre has operated successfully for 30 years as part of the Australian theatre touring network and still maintains strong relationships with community groups who perform annually in the space.
Warringah Council identified in 2012 the foyer area did not accommodate patrons attending the theatre. Acknowledging the evolution of Glen Street, counsellors unanimously supported upgrading the theatre foyer and forecourt areas as Stage One of the Glen Street Cultural Hub.
The success of the Glen Street complex has always depended upon the generous support of the community and Warringah Council and has built a national reputation.Image: Glen Street Theatre, 2006