A former car park, a Victorian police cell and a basement are among the venues that will host acts at this year's festival.

Performers from all over the world will come to the city in May for the threeweek festival, which will also provide a platform for some of the best of Brighton's creative talents.

Names on the bill range from our possible future Prime Minister Gordon Brown to award-winning comedian Daniel Kitson and human rights campaigner Shami Chakrabarti.

This year's festival features 13 premieres, including seven events produced or commissioned by Brighton Festival.

Here we outline just a few of the many events announced today:

  • THEATRE A vast outdoor installation featuring elaborate video projections, live music, acrobats and performance will take place in the Trafalgar Street Arches, former site of the railway station car park.

French theatre company KompleX KapharnauM will piece together the hidden history of the site, which was once home to the city's famed locomotive works and the former Isetta Bubble Car factory.

An upstairs room at The Old Ship Hotel will be the venue for a performance of Jean Genet's The Maids. Audience members will be led through an unmarked door, up the back stairs and into an unseen world for a world premiere.

At the Corn Exchange, audience members will become delegates at a global conference on climate change in Futurology: A Global Revue .

Economists, politicians, protesters and mystics all play their part in a darkly comic cabaret of song, dance and ventriloquism.

Two of Scotland's leading companies, Suspect Culture and National Theatre of Scotland, have joined forces with Brighton Festival for the English premiere of the show.

Comedian Daniel Kitson is bringing his sell-out Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, C90, to an underground basement in Kensington Street.

Harold Pinter's The New World Order will be given its world premiere at the Town Hall, with the action taking place throughout the building, including the depths of the Victorian police cells.

  • DANCE Renowned Belgian dance company Les Ballets C de la B will be premiering a show combining dance, performance, acrobatics, live music and song, all set to French Baroque music.

British dance icon Michael Clark will present a reworking of his 1992 production Mmm, which will feature original Leigh Bowery costumes and music by Public Image Ltd and Wire.

  • MUSIC The grand surrounds of the Royal Pavilion will be a fitting setting for a performance of Verdi's La Traviata by the Ensemble Musica a Palazzo. Opera fans can also see Purcell's Dido & Aeneas at Brighton Dome and a version of his work King Arthur transported to the trenches of the First World War by The Armonico Consort.

Electro-improv renegades The Bays will return to Brighton to perform an exhilarating live improvised soundtrack to German cult classic Run Lola Run.

The organisers of the Great Escape Festival and Brighton Festival will cocurate an evening of new music at the Corn Exchange, headed up by Gallic innovators Nouvelle Vague, whose genre-bending debut album fused post-punk era classics and languid Brazilian beach bossa.

Other evening acts will include Congolese rumba from Odemba OK Jazz All Stars and the 14-piece Mingus Big-Band.

There will also be a series of lunchtime recitals at Brighton Dome by the likes of Brighton Festival Youth Choir, Bengali star Sarmistha Guha and the Navarra String Quartet.

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Brighton Festival Chorus and Brighton Festival Youth Choir will give the first ever live performance of William Walton's original orchestral score of Laurence Olivier's 1944 classic Henry V, set to a digitally remastered print of the film.

  • BOOKS AND DEBATE From politics to poetry, entertainment to environmentalism, the festival programme gives voice to the hottest topics and keenest minds.

Gordon Brown will talk about life as the longest serving Chancellor of the Exchequer for 200 years, journalist Joan Bakewell will host high tea at the Grand Hotel, while French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy will report on American democracy in the 21st Century.

Other big names on the bill include Andrew Marr, David Dimbleby, Jackie Kay, Shami Chakrabarti, Vic Reeves, Lionel Shriver, Nick Kent and Dave Eggers.

  • CHILDREN'S PERFORMANCES Not only do they get to take part in a spectacular Children's Parade but a host of other cultural treasures too. At the Famous Five family day in St Ann's Wells Gardens, there will be lashings of ginger beer and five specially commissioned artworks hidden throughout the park will provide cryptic clues to young adventurers.

There will be workshops for young teenagers on bridging the gap between poetry and rap, performances by children's comics Them with Tails and a chance to meet some of the best children's authors and illustrators, including Jeremy Strong and Katharine Holabird, the creator of Angelina Ballerina.

General booking opens on Friday March 2. For more information, visit www.brightonfestival.org or pick up a programme.

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