This August 8 - 17, Ireland’s medieval city will be awash with international theatre, music, dance, literature, art and family events at the Kilkenny Arts Festival 2014.

An extraordinary and eclectic line-up has just been announced, where a strong focus will be on artistic residencies, collaborations and fusion of styles and genres. Surprise guests are also on the varied programme that promises to transcend conventional art-form boundaries.

Two highly ambitions musical projects lead the programme - with Beethoven Quest on the far end of the spectrum and the Marble City Sessions on the other. Beethoven Quest is an epic journey through the great composer’s string quartets and piano concertos which will be performed over the ten days of the festival. Some of the finest musicians in America and Ireland - with Irish act The Gloaming at the heart - will gather together for the Marble City Sessions. A special gala performance is the highlight but it will be peppered by intimate sessions and pop-up gigs throughout the city.

Other exciting names in music to grace the festival will be Baroque conducter Christian Curnyn and his Early Opera Company, the Basiani Ensemble (Georgia) known for their ancient polyphonic choral singing, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino from Italy, pianist Alfred Brendel and one of the coolest contemporary chamber orchestras in Europe, Stargaze.

As well as that, Liam Ó Maonlaí will perform on unique glass instruments created in collaboration with Irish glass artist Róisín de Buitléar and fellow glass artist Karen Donnellan will be working with composer Alma Kelliher to explore the boundaries of sound technology and experimental glass art.

On the literary side of things, US Poet Laureate Billy Collins will head up numerous events, including public readings and a workshop for poets and Kate Tempest (UK) will be present for the Irish premiere of her new album Everybody Down.

The internationally renowned Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Company will take to the stage in Castle Yard, Ireland’s finest open-air theatre setting to perform their new production of Much Ado About Nothing and speaking of Shakespeare, the Irish Modern Dance Theatre will present the world premiere of Lear Project, a reimagining of Shakepeare’s King Lear with New York modern-dance legend Valda Setterfield.

A unique element to this years festival, is its interactive nature. Festival goers will have a remarkable opportunity to view the interior of St. Mary's Church which will be stripped back, revealing its original volume. Audiences are also urged to explore the breathtaking venues such as St Canice’s Cathedral, St John’s Priory, Castle Yard and newer spaces Set Theatre, Watergate Theatre and Left Bank.

With all this and so much more, not to mention family workshops and events and a guaranteed lively atmosphere, there'll be no better place to be this August.

Tickets are on sale now - see for more.