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National Theatre Wales
17-18 September, 2016

Roald Dahl's City of the Unexpected

Wales Millennium Centre and National Theatre Wales

In September 2016, more than 120,000 people attended Wales’ largest ever cultural event, staged to celebrate the centenary of Roald Dahl. With over 7,000 people performing, making and volunteering, Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected was a totally surprising celebration of the man, his characters and his stories.

The Welsh capital - where Roald Dahl was born on 13th September 1906 - became a place where reality was turned on its head, and where the laws of physics, logic and the predictable gave way to magic, fun, invention and the surreal, as if Dahl himself was at the helm.

Participants and audience members immersed themselves in everything from large-scale events to intimate performances - all staged across Cardiff’s streets and public spaces, in shops and arcades, at iconic buildings and parks.

To mark his centenary and to give thanks for the legacy he created, Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected was a world-class event worthy of a world-class writer.



Roald Dahl's City of the Unexpected: Hightlights

Saturday 17 September

On Saturday 17 September, Cardiff’s city centre exploded into the weird and wonderful world of Roald Dahl, with over 120,000 people taking to the streets of the capital.

Stone gargoyles came to life, City Hall turned into chocolate, and a ladybird married a fireman. Two hundred dancers appeared from thin air, a fox walked a highwire and diggers danced….

… an 800-strong choir sang Calon Lân, 35 members of the Ministry of the Predictable stalked the streets, officers from South Wales Police & South Wales Fire Service danced along with us…

Not forgetting...

118 hula hoopers,
15 roller derby rollerskaters,
8 banquet table cyclists,
12 bands,
51 circus performers,
17 fantastic foxes…




Sunday 18 September

On Sunday 18 September, we invited Dahl lovers of all ages to wear their pyjamas, pull up a chair, and bring a picnic as we embraced the wonder of Roald Dahl in a huge celebration of food, music and story.

Readings of extracts from Roald Dahl's stories by some very special guests took place in weird and wonderful secret spaces around the capital; from bank vaults, castles and churches, to worm farms and secret gardens.

And to wrap up the weekend, the Great Pyjama Picnic in Bute Park saw a mass twmpath, revolting picnics, and a pillow fight!