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Giant British arts fest to run alongside Olympics

Cultural events will take over Scottish castles, ancient English monuments and every corner of London as part of a giant arts festival running in conjunction with the 2012 Olympics.

The lineup for the 12-week London 2012 Festival, announced by organizers Friday, ranges from pop-up William Shakespeare to vintage Alfred Hitchcock, and includes artists, musicians, writers and performers from Britain and around the world.

The festival opens June 21, 2012 — Midsummer's Day — with a series of concerts across the country, and runs to Sept. 9.

Musical participants range from Senegal's Baaba Maal to the San Francisco-based Kronos Quartet, and from Daniel Barenboim's West Eastern Divan Orchestra to Venezuela's Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra.

Britain's most famous cultural export, Shakespeare, plays a big part, with international festivals of the playwright's work staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company and Shakespeare's Globe theater.

Actor Mark Rylance will give "pop-up" performances of the Bard's sonnets and speeches around London, and there will be a new work, inspired by Shakespeare's Desdemona, created by Nobel Prize-winning American novelist Toni Morrison and Malian singer-songwriter Rokia Traore.

Several artists will receive major exhibitions, including Yoko Ono at London's Serpentine Gallery, Damien Hirst at Tate Modern and the late Lucian Freud at the National Portrait Gallery.

Newly restored silent films by Alfred Hitchcock will be screened around London with live musical accompaniment.

Venues range from museums and galleries to the ancient monument of Stonehenge, England's scenic Lake Windermere, Scotland's Stirling Castle. Roman-era Hadrian's Wall in northern England will be transformed by New York collective YesYesNo into an 86-mile-long (138 kilometer-long) art installation.

The London Olympics run July 27-August 12, 2012.

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Online: www.london2012.com/festival