13 September 2016

Expect the Unexpected: how to make the most of Roald Dahl’s big weekend 

Roald Dahl: City of the Unexpected is almost here. It’s happening in Cardiff on the weekend of September 17 and 18, and is the biggest and most wildly imaginative of all the global events being held to mark the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth.

We’ve known for a while that it’s going to be an unforgettable weekend, as the city is taken over by Dahl-inspired magic and mischief on an epic scale. But now details are finally emerging of how visitors can get the most out of the experience. 

So if you’re worried about missing any of the action (ie, standing in one place while the spectacle-of-a-lifetime is happening just round the corner, grrr!), then fear not. There’s a Facebook Messenger account which’ll send live information to your phone, so you’ll know exactly where to go. You can sign up online, visit their Facebook page and keep tabs on all their Tweets.  They’ll also be giving top tips on how to make the best of the experience on their website, and there’ll also be plenty of cast members roaming the city throughout the event, to help you navigate it.

What else can you expect? Well, the Unexpected. The creative forces behind it all, the Wales Millennium Centre and National Theatre Wales, have been teasing us with outlandish rumours for months,  but they’re tight-lipped about how it’ll actually unfold. 


Cardiff city centre and Cardiff Bay

We got a hint of the scale of the event earlier this year when they put out a call for 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, rock climbers, grandparents, children and a performing mouse. Just last week, they put out an appeal for 1,200 pillow-fighters.
More than 6,000 people have signed up, and this army of performers will dance, sing, dangle, interrupt, leap out, fly, animate and cause pandemonium across the Welsh capital.

The action takes place on Saturday from 1pm to 9.30pm, in locations all over the city centre. Then on Sunday morning there are Dahl readings by famous faces (now all sold out), followed by a free Great Pyjama Picnic at Coopers Field in Bute Park between 2pm and 5pm, to which you’re invited to bring your own Roald Dahl-inspired picnic. 

The Hayes

The Hayes, Cardiff

While you’re in Cardiff, there’s plenty of other Roald Dahl-related fun to try: