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Monday, 27 December, 1999, 09:01 GMT
Millennium odyssey takes shape

The Odyssey project is sited on the River Lagan The Odyssey project as it will look by the end of 2000

The people of Belfast will have to wait until the end of 2000 before they can start to enjoy the city's millennium project.

But when construction of the 90m Landmark Millennium Odyssey is finished, Belfast is promised its biggest and boldest entertainment venue ever.

The venue on the banks of the River Lagan will offer attractions including giant screen entertainment, a 10,000-seat arena to host top sporting, musical and educational events and a science centre.

Odyssey Communications manager Rob Vick said he was confident that the Odyssey will be extremely popular.

3D IMAX cinema

"I think the demand is here as long as we can bring the entertainment to the people. They want the right sports events, the right concerts and the right exhibitions," he said.

School childern in the Dublin IMAX dodge 3D sharks School childern in the Dublin IMAX dodge 3D sharks
"It makes me very excited having worked in an arena before. I know what impact it is going to have on the city and in fact the country."

One of the project's major attractions will be Northern Ireland's first giant 3D IMAX screen cinema.

Similar to the one in Dublin, which is run by the same company developing the Odyssey project, Belfast's IMAX will be as high as four stacked double-decker buses and five times the scale of a normal cinema screen.

The investment is huge despite the fact that films like Star Wars or James Bond are not being made in the giant screen format yet.

Fire tornado

The IMAX currently runs special features including a 3D shark adventure and has big plans for future projects.

The science centre will include interactive experiments Interactive experiments at the science centre
Theatre Director Paula Kelly said: "We have joined forces with Disney, one of the best film producers and they are giving us Fantasia for the year 2000.

"There are nearly 100 theatres which have taken on this contract with Disney and that gives me good hope for the future of the technology and the large format theatres."

One of the Odyssey's other big draws will be the science centre, due to open in spring 2001.

Sally Montgomery from the Ulster Museum said: "We are going to call it Who What Where When Why, which is W5 for short. It's going to be absolutely fantastic.

"You can get involved with exhibits. It's an interactive, hands-on centre for everyone.

"The most spectacular thing will be the fire tornado on the ground floor, which is an 18 feet column of fire."

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See also:
22 Dec 99 |  UK
Dome alone: Is it fun for adults?
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