Ministructures: meet the general manager of The O2 arena

For our Ministructures series, artist Lucy Sparrow sews us a mini version of a famous London landmark each week. For each one she sews, we meet a person with an interesting story to tell about it. Today we meet Rebecca Kane, 38, general manager for The O2.

Hi Rebecca. What do you get up to at this delightful dome?
‘I’m responsible for about everything over, under, and around the roof. As general manager I can do anything from meeting my leadership team to doing site visits. I might have lunch with a client, then prepare for the arrival of a Jessie J or a Florence.’

You must meet a lot of big names.
‘Looking after Michael Buble was a treat. My 86 year-old nan came down to see his show. She’d never been to a venue like The O2 before – and never really understood what I did before – but she had a great time.’

Did she get to meet him?
‘No, but I presented him with an award and my nan has a nice pic on her wall of me with him. She’s probably superimposed a picture of herself on it…’

The O2 has come a long way since it was the Millennium Dome – why do you think it’s doing so well now?
‘I actually helped promote this place when it was the Dome – it’s been like a boomerang, coming back into my life in a different guise. The Millennium Dome was successful in many ways, but it got bad press. It took AEG, as an American company that were a little less aware of that, to say “you know what, that would make a great arena”.’

It was unused for a long time…
‘It was such a shame when the place was derelict and empty. But it’s been reincarnated – now it’s the world’s number one music venue. And London’s got its landmark back.’

Why do you think it is such a landmark?
‘You’ve got to thank the architects Richard Rogers and Mike Davies for that. I mean, they took a run-down, contaminated patch of London… My God, they had vision. There’s no other building like it on the planet. I love that there are references to time in its structure. It has 12 masts, it’s 52 metres high, and it’s 365 metres in diameter. And it’s right on the meridian line, in Greenwich.’

Have you walked on the roof yet?
‘So many times. On my first day they took me up before the Up at the O2 roof walk had been built. We were bouncing on it – it was like being on a giant mattress. It was fine until someone told me that the fabric was a millimetre thick…’ Interview: Flo Wales Bonner

Read more from the Ministructures series.

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