Brighton's pounds 20m arts boost

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The Independent Online
Brighton's historic Dome Complex is likely to be turned into a pounds 20m international arts centre.

The scheme has been conceived and will be carried out by Brighton Festival, in partnership with Brighton Borough Council, with the help of more than pounds 5m from the Government's regeneration challenge fund and a new award of pounds 400,000 from the National Lottery.

Work is expected to begin in the autumn of next year, with completion by the year 2000. This lottery award to enable a design scheme, costings and consultations with heritage organisations is expected to be followed by a much larger award of lottery money next year.

The new Dome will house a concert hall with extended stage; a middle- scale theatre; an upgraded and expanded museum and art gallery and a large, flexible performance and exhibition space.

The Dome Complex, which will be managed by Brighton Festival from this autumn, forms part of a larger cultural regeneration of Brighton's town centre.

Premises near the Dome will be converted into start-up fashion and craft units, aimed at students, with goods marketed to the famous specialist shops in the Brighton Lanes.

Christopher Barron, director of the Brighton Festival, said the resort would now have true international and cultural status. "It is the most exciting opportunity the town has ever had."

The Dome complex consists of a sequence of Grade 1 listed buildings on the estate of the Royal Pavilion. The international arts festival is held in the town every May.