HAY Festival extends its reach to the starry firmament of Hollywood this summer.

The draft programme includes appearances by Goldie Hawn, Jane Fonda and top director Spike Lee, as well as the usual literary highfliers, including Ian McEwan and Kazuo Ishiguro.

With funding from Film Four (Channel 4 are big sponsors anyway), the 19-year-old festival welcomes the introduction of state-of-the-art cinema to the market town.

The big marquee will be relocated to the green field site to make space for a physically smaller 300-seat structure, with raked flooring, a big screen and fantastic sound system.

"In true Hay tradition, we're building it from scratch," director Peter Florence said. "It'll feel like a real treat, with a bar and seating area."

How will the scientists, historians and camera-shy literary types react to the flashbulb photography the A-list stars are guaranteed to draw?

"Anybody who doesn't like Goldie Hawn is a miserable, sad person," Peter said - admitting that the blonde bombshell just happened to appear in his all time favourite film, Shampoo.

"Film is an area we are equipped to deal with, and which we have dabbled in for a couple of years. There's a very easy connection between books and film, partly because a lot of books are made into film and partly because a lot of writers write for both.

"People involved in film are good talkers - they are used to talking about their product."

The programme will include an eclectic mix of international work and should add an exciting element to the 10-day event.

"We try to innovate quietly each year and improve the basic core," Peter said. "Ten years ago we weren't doing quite so much comedy, or art. More than the programme, the festival is about the buzz and the people.

"Our audience is concerned with quality and as long as they feel like they're getting the best of what there is, they're happy.

"It's the most exciting audience in the world to have - if you put on Steve Jones, talking about genetics, they turn up because he's the best there is.

"We're extraordinarily lucky to have such an audience, which is a great resource as well as a really nice bunch of people."

He continued: "People used to say about Hay, it's like London going to the county, which really annoys me. Intelligent, interesting people don't all live in London.

"I resent the prejudice to rural areas - 60% of our audience is local; less than 10% comes from London and the South East and a great majority comes from other areas."

Director Peter Brook will launch the arts side.

Fonda and Hawn will both give one-on-one interviews, with their films being shown as part of a mini-season.

Hawn is best known for Bird on a Wire, Private Benjamin and First Wives Club, while Fonda's Oscar-nominated works include They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and On Golden Pond.

It is estimated that the festival brought in 90,000 visitors to the town last year, with its population of 1,300 and 39 bookshops - in some ways it's hard to imagine how it could become more successful.

A major announcement about this year's programme is anticipated for April.

See the website, www.hayfestival.com, for details.