Roald Dahl centenary: 'Tremendous things' promised for 2016

image copyrightRonald Dumont/Hulton/Getty
image captionRoald Dahl settled to live in Buckinghamshire

Cardiff is set for a big adventure in 2016 to celebrate the centenary of one of its most famous sons, Roald Dahl.

Loved for children's books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Matilda, Dahl was born in Llandaff and spent his early schooldays there.

Arts organisations have come together for a series of events, including a Cardiff-wide City of the Unexpected, which will mark his legacy.

Roald Dahl 100 aims to build on the Dylan Thomas centenary success in 2014.

The Welsh government, National Theatre Wales, Wales Millennium Centre and Literature Wales have unveiled details of a programme of events.

The launch was at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay, where Dahl was baptised.

It includes:

  • City of the Unexpected, a city-wide performance celebrating all things Dahl, produced by National Theatre Wales and Wales Millennium Centre
  • A programme of outreach events by Literature Wales taking the wonders of Roald Dahl and his characters far and wide.
  • Land of Song project in schools, inspired by Dahl
  • An exhibition of illustrations by principal Dahl artist Quentin Blake and World Book day.

Deputy Minister for Culture Ken Skates said: "The Roald Dahl 100 celebrations in 2016 should be quite an adventure - in the words of Willy Wonka, 'Tremendous things are in store for you! Many wonderful surprises await you!'"

Dahl's grandson, Luke Kelly said: "It is wonderful to hear today all the exciting plans both in Cardiff and throughout Wales for 2016. My grandfather would have been moved and delighted by the range of activity as am I."

He and Dahl's widow Felicity were unveiling an official Roald Dahl 100 logo on a flag, which will fly from the Norwegian Church Arts Centre in 2016.


  • Born during World War One on 13 September 1916 in Llandaff. His Norwegian father Harald was a ship broker and he was named after polar explorer Roald Amundsen.
  • The family move to live in Radyr - a house called Ty Mynydd - in 1918.
  • He went to school in Llandaff until 1925, before being sent out of Wales to boarding school.
  • A blue plaque now marks the former sweet shop in Llandaff, where Roald and his friends played a trick on the miserable owner Mrs Pratchett, by putting a mouse in a jar of gobstoppers.
  • Despite travelling and living and working away from Wales he always had a great love for his home city.

City of the Unexpected will be bring a mix of theatre, art and performance spectacles across Cardiff.

'One of ours'

John McGrath, of NTW, which is joining forces to co-produce events with the WMC, said: "Expect to see everyday places utterly transformed - seen through the eyes of Roald Dahl - and get ready to meet some of your favourite characters in the most unexpected ways".

Literature Wales will bring a programme across Wales, which it says will be aimed at children and adults alike.

Chief executive Lleucu Siencyn said: "Roald Dahl is loved by children and adults all over the world but not many know that he was born in Cardiff and is one of ours. In 2016 we plan to bring Dahl back to Wales."

With his stories available in 59 languages and with more than 200 million book sales worldwide, the centenary celebrations will be on a global scale.

Highlights include Steven Spielberg's adaption of Roald Dahl's The BFG, to be released in cinemas next July.

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