Belfast Telegraph

Albarn, Blanchett join Olympic fest

Oscar winner Cate Blanchett and Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn are to have starring roles in the arts festival to mark the London 2012 Games.

They are among a line-up of artists including winners of a Nobel Prize, an Oscar, a Brit Award, two Turner Prizes, a Golden Globe and three Bafta awards who have been commissioned for the London 2012 Festival.

This is a 12-week arts marathon kicking off on Midsummer's Day June 21 2012 to the last day of the London 2012 Paralympics on September 9 2012.

Over 1,000 nationwide events ranging from dance, music, theatre, visual arts, film and digital work are being planned in the hope of drawing over three million people.

Details are still being confirmed but some will be ticket-only events. Announcing the first festival commissions at the Royal Opera House in central London, Cultural Olympiad board chair Tony Hall hoped it would be a "wonderful finale" to the four-year run-up to London 2012.

He predicted: "2012 is going to be a stupendous summer of sports and arts - the whole of the UK in celebration."

Damon is working with Rufus Norris and Jamie Hewlett on a new musical number that will debut at the Manchester International Festival (MIF). This a joint commission from London 2012, the English National Opera and the MIF.

Hollywood star Cate and the Sydney Theatre Company will be part of an-Australian cast tackling a new adaptation of German playwright Botho Strauss's work Gross And Klein under the watchful eye of director Luc Bondy.

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