Cate Blanchett has signed on to star in an eight-hour adaptation of William Shakespeare's plays to launch her stint as co-artistic director of the Sydney Theatre Company in her native Australia next year (08). The ambitious War of the Roses production, which will feature all eight of Shakespeare's Civil War plays, will be part of next January's Sydney Festival. The Elizabeth star and her husband, writer Andrew Upton, take over at the STC as joint artistic directors in the New Year (08). Already, the 2008 theatre season has proven fruitful for the STC and for Blanchett - the actress has received financial support from fashion house Armani and car maker Audi. Giorgio Armani has been named as the patron of the theatre.