Vanessa Redgrave to lead children's parade at Brighton Festival

Vanessa Redgrave
Image caption Vanessa Redgrave wants the festival to inspire all ages

Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave is to lead the children's parade which will open this year's Brighton Festival.

As festival guest director, she will have a major input into the event which is to take place from 5 to 27 May 2012.

Ms Redgrave said that although she had been involved in important arts events before, this was her first festival.

"It's a wonderful thing to me that I've been asked to really be part of this festival," she said.

'Fantastic symbol'

Ms Redgrave is well-known for her political activism and campaigning for human rights and follows last years guest director, the Burmese pro-Democracy campaigner Aung San Suu Kyi, in that tradition.

She is also a Unicef goodwill ambassador and wants the festival to inspire all ages.

"It will bring the young together with the old and the young people with their new visions and their new perspectives, their new ideas," she said.

"It will be giving them a chance to see some of the very best work they can possibly see."

This year's Brighton Festival, which was launched on Wednesday evening, will include 143 events and 351 performances, some of which will include Vanessa Redgrave herself.

Andrew Comben, who is chief executive of the festival, said: "One thing that Vanessa is particularly passionate about is the work for children and so that is really representative in the festival this year.

"I am really delighted that she will lead the children's parade. It's a fantastic symbol of everything that is important for Brighton Festival and its basis in the community."

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