Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre Wales

Directed by Nigel Jamieson

17-18 September 2016, Cardiff city centre


millennium centre logo national theatre logo

Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre Wales are today announcing further details about City of the Unexpected, Cardiff’s landmark celebration of Wales’ foremost storyteller in his centenary year.

On Sunday 18 September, audiences will discover some of Roald Dahl’s biggest (and well-known) fans reading extracts from his stories in some unusual and extraordinary locations across the city centre. And in the afternoon, large-scale mayhem will burst out again, with audiences invited to join an unprecedented mass picnic in Bute Park – in their pyjamas – and to bring with them some food inspired by the man himself. This event will bring together all the themes, stories, characters and cast of the weekend in an unexpected, all-day festival of Dahl-esque food, music, story and of Cardiff’s community.

More information about Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected, including travel and accommodation advice and answers to FAQs, can be found on the event’s website:

Following a hugely successful call-out for participants made by Wales Millennium Centre & National Theatre Wales in April, more than 6,000 people from across Wales and beyond have signed-up to take part in Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected. This army of performers will dance, sing, dangle, interrupt, leap out, fly, animate and cause pandemonium in unusual locations across the Welsh capital.

It is hoped that Roald Dahl’s City of the Unexpected will be an extraordinary weekend-long event to celebrate Roald Dahl’s centenary year, showcasing both his distinctive voice and the jewels of his birthplace.

Roald Dah;


Saturday 17 September

1pm – 9.30pm (Free)

Cardiff’s city centre will explode into the weird and wonderful world of Roald Dahl. Look out for unexpected happenings on the streets and buildings throughout the city… but don’t be fooled, not everything is what it seems! The day’s main event will finish by 9.30pm, and its location will be revealed during the day.

Sunday 18 September

10.30am – 2pm (Ticketed*)

Come on an adventure and discover unexpected spaces around the city while you sit back and enjoy extracts from Roald Dahl’s stories read by some familiar faces. The locations and surprise storytellers will be announced in August, and tickets will go on sale at the same time.

2pm – 5pm (Free)

The Great Pyjama Picnic in Bute Park will bring together all the themes, stories, characters and cast of the weekend in a huge celebration of food, music, story and mass participation.  Come in your pyjamas and bring your own Roald Dahl-inspired picnic.

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.”

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said: “During Wales’ Year of Adventure and our celebrations of Roald Dahl’s centenary, City of the Unexpected will be an epic way for us to join a celebration of all things Roald Dahl. It will be an opportunity to share his adventures, characters and creations and to discover or rediscover his work. We look forward to being surprised and thrilled at what Cardiff will throw at us during this weekend and I’m delighted that the Welsh Government is supporting the event.”

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 SitaHonour 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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