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Tuesday, 12 December, 2000, 09:50 GMT
Battersea revived by the circus
Battersea Power Station
Battersea Power Station was designed in 1930
A Canadian circus company, Cirque du Soleil, is planning to turn London's disused Battersea Power Station into a 500m entertainment complex, with a permanent home for its shows.

The Montreal-based company said it planned to convert the dilapidated building into a 2,000-seat centre, as part of several worldwide developments during the next 10 to 15 years.

Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil have performed for more than 23 million people
"This building continues to radiate the energy that it used to convert. It is a hugely powerful symbol," Guy Laliberte, the founder of the circus company, said.

Montreal will remain the training centre for the critically acclaimed troupe of acrobats, gymnasts, dancers and clowns,

Cirque du Soleil employs more than 2,000 staff across the world, and has performed to more than 23 million people.

Work on the site will begin within the next six months by the owners and developers of the power station, Park View.

The development is expected to include two hotels and a cinema.

Cultural icon

Battersea Power Station, on London's South Bank, was designed in 1930 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott and J Theo Halliday.

The structure, believed to be largest brick building in Europe, has long been a cultural icon and was pictured on the cover of the Pink Floyd album Animals in the 1970s.

It stopped generating electricity in 1983.

Cirque du Soleil started in Canada with a troupe of street performers in 1984 and has grown to include permanent shows in Las Vegas, Florida and Berlin.

The company is opening a show in London this week in a giant tent next to the former power station.

"The complexes will be a unique fusion of drama and design, of architecture and the arts," said Mr Laliberte.

"They will be a place where technology, tourism, arts and leisure converge, and will provide a year-round base for Cirque du Soleil in the form of a permanent theatre in the host city," he added.

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See also:

01 Sep 00 | UK
Battersea's powerful story
27 Jul 99 | Education
College for clowns
29 Jan 99 | Entertainment
Disney attracts Cirque du Soleil
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