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Shanghai's annual arts festival joins in celebrations

Shanghai has been treated to almost six months of entertainment thanks to the fact that the city has been hosting the 2010 World Expo but things are about to move into overdrive as that event enters its final month.

This year's 12th Shanghai International Arts Festival ( http://www.artsbird.com/) - which will run at venues all over town from September 27 to October 27 - has decided to integrate its program into Expo rather than compete with it for audiences and so there will be an extra 45 events for visitors to town to choose from.

Among the highlights so far announced by festival organizers are the world premiere of the Shanghai Ballet's Marco Polo - the Last Mission, the Ballet of Monte Carlo's Nijinsky Award-winning La Belle and a combined Chinese-Japanese dance interpretation of China's classic fairytale Mulan - made famous all over the world thanks to the animated feature film made by Disney.

"We want the festival to be an integrated part of the Expo season and provide colorful artistic events for Expo and Shanghai,'' an official from the festival's PR department told Chinese media this week.

 The Shanghai International Arts Festival is acknowledged as China's premier arts event and along with the program of local and international performers hosts community events and an international art trading fair which showcases the country's most successful recent productions to booking agents from around the world.

This year's festival is also staging Hong Kong Culture Week as part of its program and will feature art shows and theatrical productions highlighting the talent of the city's southern cousins.

Shanghai's Expo ( http://en.expo2010.cn), meanwhile, will close on October  31 and is this week edging its way towards 50 million visitors since it opened on May 1.

12th Shanghai International Arts Festival

September 27-October 27

Various venues, Shanghai