LONDON (Reuters Life!) - Nobel Prize-winning American author Toni Morrison and Oscar-winning Australian actress Cate Blanchett are among the big names involved in a 12-week arts festival running alongside the 2012 Olympics in London.
The London 2012 Festival, which runs from June 21 to September 9, 2012 and encompasses the Olympic Games, will include over 1,000 events designed to attract three million people. Some will be ticketed and others free, organizers said on Tuesday.
The visual arts will be led by contemporary artists including Rachel Whiteread and Olafur Eliasson, and there will be major exhibitions by veteran painters David Hockney and Lucian Freud.
A series of short films has also been commissioned, including one by award-winning director Mike Leigh.
The music program includes new works from artists as diverse as Blur and Gorillaz singer Damon Albarn, composer Philip Glass and writer Morrison.
Blanchett will star in a new adaptation of "Gross und Klein" with the Sydney Theater Company as part of the theatrical program, and there will be a series of dance and poetry events as well.
"We've less than 600 days to the start of the greatest sporting show on Earth and want to match it with a cultural program that is also memorable and exciting," said Mayor of London Boris Johnson.
"The caliber of the people announced today -- from London, the UK and abroad -- underlines the ambition of the London 2012 Festival. It will be a series of fantastic events to mark an unforgettable year in London's history."
Reporting by Mike Collett-White, editing by Paul Casciato