It has been announced that the huge 12,000-seat amphitheatre that was going to form the centerpiece of London's Millennium Dome Exhibition has been scrapped. Theatre producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh had been working with designer John Napier on a show called About Time which was due to be staged in the auditorium, but this has now also been cancelled.
It had been estimated that the amphitheatre was going to cost up to $415 million (250 million pounds) to build - almost a third of the entire millennium dome's budget - and this, along with the organizational problems of handling 12,000 people for 5 performances a day, are thought to be the main reasons behind scrapping this part of the Millennuim Exhibition.
The London Evening Standard reports Sir Cameron Mackintosh as saying: "I am sorry it is not going to happen," although he went on conceded that he was not entirely unhappy at the outcome. "I am delightfully free of an extraordinary responsibility which was giving me sleepless nights," he said. "Now I can retire to my croft in Scotland for Hogmanay in 1999."
Now, instead of the internal 12,000 seater amphitheatre, the dome is expected to be opened up creating an informal central piazza which will hold the 'central attraction' -- this will have the theme that the millennium is the 'Time to make a difference' - but no further details are yet available. Sir Cameron Mackintosh is continuing in his role as creative adviser to the Millennium Experience.
-- By Paul Dixon
Albemarle of London's West End Theatre Guide