Embattled culture secretary Jeremy Hunt helped launch the full programme for the London 2012 Festival - the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad - at the Tower of London this morning.

In an opening address, Hunt proclaimed that "culture is to Britain what the sun is to Spain", adding that Dickens and Shakespeare would be "very proud" of the Festival, which runs from 21 June to 9 September.

The London 2012 Festival will feature 12,000 events and performances involving over 25,000 artists from all 204 participating Olympic Nations. Chairman Tony Hall described it today as "the largest cultural celebration in our lifetimes".

Theatre highlights include the World Shakespeare Festival and Big Dance, and a season of works dedicated to Alan Ayckbourn (for further details see our earlier story).

There will also be comedy performances from the likes of Tim Minchin and Stephen Fry, as well as 'pop up' activities including Shakespeare readings from Mark Rylance and a giant bouncy castle rendering of Stonehenge from artist Jeremy Deller.

Cultural Olympiad and London 2012 Festival director Ruth Mackenzie said: "With new work from the best musicians, comics, artists, film makers and more, there will be arts events taking place in unusual places all over the UK that will showcase the best in international culture when the eyes of the world are on us this summer."

For further details of the London 2012 programme, click here. And you can follow coverage of the many theatre events happening as part of Summer 2012 on our dedicated microsite.