Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, Gorillaz mastermind Damon Albarn and Bradford-born artist David Hockney will have starring roles in the arts festival to mark the London 2012 Games, it was announced yesterday.
Whether behind-the-scenes or centre-stage, 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."
Actor Jude Law has a hand in the opening event as one of the producers of a Peace One Day (POD) production in Londonderry.
The POD campaign argues there should be an international day of ceasefire and non-violence.
Major exhibitions of work by Hockney and realist painter Lucian Freud are to be staged.
Contemporary artists Rachel Whiteread and Olafur Eliasson are working on special commissions.