Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre Wales

Directed by Nigel Jamieson

17-18 September 2016, Cardiff city centre


Wales Millennium Centre and National Theatre Wales have today called out to the people of Cardiff, Wales and Britain to take part in Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected, Cardiff’s landmark celebration of Wales’ foremost storyteller. Director, Nigel Jamieson, leads the search for a cast of 6,000 volunteers, including 2,000 choristers, 1,000 dancers, 50 Morris Minor drivers, 40 bald men, 13 magicians, four brass bands, three excavator drivers, a Spitfire pilot, firemen, circus artists, aerialists, rockclimbers, grandparents, children and a performing mouse. Anyone interested in taking part, whether as a performer, a maker or an organiser, is encouraged to get in touch.


Over the weekend of 17-18 September, Cardiff will celebrate the centenary of one of its most well-known sons, Roald Dahl, with an extraordinary weekend-long event, showcasing both his distinctive voice and the jewels of the city’s buildings, parks and its people. The city will be transformed into a place where the laws of physics and civic predictability will give way to the laws of magic, mischief and the unexpected.


The whole city will be humming with whispers of Roald Dahl; on street corners and from rooftops, in markets and cafés, on lampposts and even on your mobile phone. Some of his best-loved stories will be told in the unlikeliest of places by well-known fans.


Eye-popping visual spectacles will turn heads and madcap events will defy the laws of physics in some of the city’s most iconic locations, including Cardiff Castle and the National Museum. A cast of thousands, from parkour artists to farmers, from pigeon fanciers to puppeteers, will give heart-stopping performances both intimate and epic.


Nigel Jamieson, director, said: “Roald Dahl’s imagination has touched the most extraordinary number of people around the world. For generations, he has been part of our bed times, our childhoods, and the development of our imaginations. It is thus fitting that the weekend celebrating his birth in Cardiff will involve one of the most ambitious mobilisations of a city’s inhabitants ever attempted, together transforming it into a place that will unlock the child in everyone and create a city of wonder and surprise.”


Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary estate and Roald Dahl’s grandson, said: “Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected is undoubtedly going to be one of the highlights of the Roald Dahl 100 celebrations this year. We cannot think of a more fitting or creative way to honour Roald’s Welsh beginnings than by transforming his birth city into a place of magic, cooked up by such a dynamic team in Wales Millennium Centre, National Theatre Wales and Nigel Jamieson. To borrow a phrase from Roald, we will be watching with glittering eyes as the spectacle unfolds. We hope everyone who participates has a wonderful time.”


Phil George, Chair, Arts Council of Wales said: “We’re thrilled to be supporting this fantastic celebration of Roald Dahl’s life and stories in the city of his birth. And what an amazing opportunity for thousands to participate in a playful transformation of a much-loved city. A truly gloriumptious event.”

Anyone keen to take part is invited to register their interest at this website:

Nigel Jamieson is one of the world’s leading theatre and large-scale event directors.
He began his career in London, where he worked at the National Theatre, directed Trickster Theatre Company and Odyssey Theatre, and was founding director of both the London International Workshop Festival and the London Festival of New Circus. He was awarded a Greater London Arts Award for his outstanding contribution to London Arts.
Subsequently moving to Sydney, he went on to direct Tin Symphony for the Sydney Olympic Opening Ceremony, the ABC Millennium Broadcast, the Closing Ceremony of the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, the Opening and Closing of the Pacific Games in Papua New Guinea, shows for the Hannover and Aichi World Expos, the Opening of European City of Culture celebrations in Liverpool, Jose Careras at Ankor Watt, a historic gathering of two thousand Aboriginal performers in the central desert of Australia, and most recently Clusters of Light, about the life of Mohammed.
His theatre work has toured the world extensively. It has included
Minutes of Separation with Cate Blanchett and Joseph Fiennes, the multi-award-winning Theft of Sita, Honour Bound and All of Me, and many other international collaborations including the ground-breaking arena show How To Train Your Dragon for Dreamworks and the epic aerial production As The World Tipped.

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