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World's best flock in for outdoor arts showcase

PUBLISHED: 10:14 24 June 2010 | UPDATED: 18:04 25 August 2010

THOUSANDS of spectators are expected to attend one of Europe s leading art festivals. Now in its 14th year, the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival gets underway today, bringing a selection of the best outdoor performing arts in the world.

THOUSANDS of spectators are expected to attend one of Europe's leading art festivals.

Now in its 14th year, the Greenwich and Docklands International Festival gets underway today, bringing a selection of the best outdoor performing arts in the world.

The opening night performance will kick off this evening at 10pm in Greenwich Park with a fusion of contemporary dance, lighting and video production created by the renowned choreographer Toni Mera.

Artistic director of the festival, Bradley Hemmings, said: "The big change this year is that we've become a 10-day festival from four days last year. There's a change this year where festival-goers will be able to see events over two weekends."

The free programme includes fresh and contemporary theatre, dance in unusual settings, and will be held at venues across Maritime Greenwich, the Isle of Dogs, Canary Wharf and Woolwich.

Last year, the event attracted more than 50,000 people.

Mr Hemming added: "We offer a varied programme. I feel very hopeful it's going to be a good festival.

"It's important to be more ambitious this year as it shows people the capacities of the area in the lead up to the Olympics in 2012."

"Due to the fact that all events are outdoors, we have to build everything from scratch."

With the weather forecast to remain dry and sunny, the opening night of the festival looks set to get off to a flying start. Mr Hemming added: "The weather is looking promising but we're experts in handling the great British summer."

For a programme of events, go to www.festival.org.

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