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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 09:39 GMT 10:39 UK
Curtain up on new politics show
Holyrood chamber
Holyrood will be opened up to a variety of events
Members of the Scottish Parliament have come up with a pioneering plan to host a festival of politics alongside the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe.

It will feature drama and music, as well as political debate.

Top names taking part include the broadcaster Andrew Marr and film-maker David Puttman.

Lord Puttman said: "I have a deep interest in how politics are covered by the media and look forward to engaging with Andrew on this issue."

Mr Marr, the BBC's outgoing political editor, added: "After too many years to contemplate reporting politics from Westminster, and watching from afar the remarkable growth of a Scottish polity, I'm delighted to have the chance to talk about the fast-evolving political future of the UK in Edinburgh."

We want to engage with ideas with artists, commentators and free thinkers
George Reid
Presiding Officer

Other big names associated with the idea include Vanessa Redgrave, Shirley Williams and Neil Kinnock.

A number of the guests are also appearing at the Edinburgh Book Festival.

The gathering will open up the Holyrood building to more than 20 diverse events such as children's workshops, political song, African music, a one-woman play and discussions on human rights, women in politics and Scotland's relationship with the land.

The debating chamber, the scene of much political drama, will be used to stage a play.

Presiding Officer George Reid explained that the aim was to connect politics with people.

'Exciting politics'

"At Holyrood we want to engage with ideas with artists, commentators and free thinkers," he said.

"We want to bring politics in from the fringe and at the same time add value to the Edinburgh International Festival."

Minister for Parliamentary Business Margaret Curran added: "Exciting politics is all about debate and the clash of ideas.

"I'm looking forward to seeing and hearing people from all walks of life debate the issues that really matter. I'm looking forward to getting involved already."

The event will run at Holyrood from 24-26 August.

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