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Monday, March 29, 1999 Published at 10:57 GMT


Baby Dome is entertainment zone

An artist's impression of Skyscape, otherwise known as the baby dome

London is to get a new entertainment venue as part of the UK's millennium celebrations.

Named Skyscape - but nicknamed the "Baby" Dome because it sits next to the larger Millennium Dome - it will house the UK's largest stage.

Live entertainment

[ image: The new venue will be dedicated to live entertainment]
The new venue will be dedicated to live entertainment
Skyscape, which is sponsored by BSkyB, will be dedicated to live entertainment such as plays, concerts, cabaret, ballet and award presentations.

It will also house two 2,500 seat cinemas which the organisers - the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) - say will entertain up to 50,000 people a day. One of the first films to be seen in the cinema will be a be specially created 30-minute film about the history of comedy.

During the day, while the main Dome is open, performances in the Baby Dome will be open to ticket holders for the main exhibition at no extra cost.

In the evening the two cinemas will be turned into a 20 metre x 20 metre stage for separately ticketed concerts - but no major names have yet come forward with dates at the new venue.

'Place in the limelight'

The Baby Dome should be completed by the end of May - and is designed to last only one year.

Record producer Pete Waterman, who produces the current chart group Steps, is involved in promoting the new venue.

"No one knows better than I do the importance of publicity. Skyscape's location will guarantee its place in the limelight during the year 2000," he said.

Expensive baby?

The Baby Dome is being built as part of the £750m millennium project in Greenwich. When plans for the new venue were first unveiled some MPs were very critical.

Sir Teddy Taylor, Conservative MP for Southend East and Rochford, said: "I would like to know who is going to pay for the baby, and whether it will get child benefit from the National Lottery."

Labour MP for Chorley Lindsay Hoyle said the venue would create terrible traffic problems in the Greenwich area, which is already notorious for traffic jams.

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