Episode 1 Roald Dahl's City of the Unexpected

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100 years ago this September one of the world's best love authors was


born right here in Cardiff. None other than the fantastic Mr Roald


Dahl. Generations of children and adults have been mesmerised by Roald


Dahl's literary creations and to celebrate his centenary, National


Theatre Wales and Wales Millennium Centre have come together to produce


a two-day citywide spectacle entitled the City of the Unexpected.


I'd taking a sneaky peek behind the scenes as Cardiff prepares to be


sprinkled by a touch of magic. If you make your way to Cardiff city


centre on the weekend of September 17-18, prepare to be amazed. With


over 75 events staged across public spaces and at iconic buildings,


entire streets will be closed off as thousands of performers bring the


city to a standstill with jaw-dropping Dahl inspired


spectacles. Events are all free of charge. Roald Dahl's books rowing up


a huge inspiration for me. The fact he is being celebrated on such a


huge scale is an amazing thing and I'm happy to play a small part in


these celebrations. In true Roald Dahl spile, -- style, anything can


happen. An update now on those unexpected weather systems and the


incidence of rhyming disease they've been causing across Wales. From


impromptu performances to a huge pillow fight on Bute Park. Anyone


and everyone is invited to take part in weird and wonderful events. For


two days we can expect the whole city to be turned upside down as if


Roald Dahl was up there in the sky pulling the strings of the city


creating mischief, mayhem, magic but certainly most of all the


unexpected. This ambitious collaboration between National


Theatre Wales and the Wales Millennium Centre has been two years


in the making and I have come to meet Graham Barrow from the


millennium Centre to find out more about the origins of the City of the


Unexpected. When you ask people, even people from Cardiff, lots of


people don't realise he was born here so partly was about trying to


reclaim first Waqar is one of us. We are used to have big sporting events


like the Rugby World Cup in Cardiff but I'm not sure there's ever been


at some creative event that has stopped the city and its tracks. The


team have called on the expertise of renowned theatre director Nigel


Jamieson from Sydney Australia. Having directed many large-scale


events, including the Olympics, the project is incapable hands. We had a


list of people we wanted to direct it and Nigel Jamieson was at the


top, our number one choice. In terms of outdoor spectacles, he is the


man. When we bagged him, we thought, we have got the makings of something


here. Director Nigel Jamieson 's track record is certainly


impressive. With rehearsals well underway, I managed to track him


down at Cardiff's Civic Centre to learn more about his vision. We had


the idea that what would it be like if Roald Dahl was sitting up there


in the sky and we suddenly said we going to hand you... If he was to be


given the reins. If he was the puppeteer. The puppeteers are two


days and the laws of physics and everything were thrown up in the


air. We would see lots of characters and themes we recognise that most of


all, it is what would he do today if he had a chance to play with 350,000


people of Cardiff, all these wonderful buildings, parks. What


Julia to the project given -- what drew you to the project? It is a


singularly fantastic idea for an event. The idea of playing with the


whole city, rather than a stadium or theatre, we hope to put on an event


that no one has ever seen in the world. I'm working with an amazing


team of directors, composers, artists, designers. I'm having to


keep all the good things hidden! Not quite, because I've got an access


all areas pass and I'm not afraid to use it. The first place I'm heading


is to the show's costume department. With so many costumes to make from


scratch, their team has certainly got their work cut out. I know


you're busy this afternoon, what is on the agenda? We are working on our


insects. We are cutting, stitching, glueing things. Dan, a la designer,


as the main job, he has to design or these beautiful costumes and then it


is our job to realise them and make sure they are something someone can


wear what performing individual skills. What is keeping you busy?


I'm making the waistcoat for Mr Fox. It is made of the brightly coloured


fabric. It's a kind of English country gentlemen feel. The


waistcoat, trousers and striped shirt. Very dapper! And very bright


colour so he stands out from the crowd because he will do a lot of


different activities. I hope it fits. Need to! -- me to! Though it


is just a costume, I'm keeping my distance if that is OK. Took me


through the spider outfit. The insect costumes get lifted by a


crane so we have these harnesses the need to be one underneath them.


They'll soon need to be able to walk through doorways. The lyrics are all


movable. So it makes it a lot smaller. -- the Lairds. It isn't


just making a pretty dress. You have to think about what the performers


are doing, whether that is sitting on the floor or doing a backflip


will actually getting lifted by a crane. Though details of the show


are kept tightly under wraps, we can expect allsorts performances


inspired by Dahl's colourful characters to pop up unexpectedly


during the weekend including some larger than life creepy crawlies.


With the aim of getting as many people as possible involved in the


celebrations, the organisers have been staging creative workshops


around Cardiff. At the library I caught up with children from the


local area who were getting ready to make jeans come true, just like


Roald Dahl's much loved character the BFG. One of the things the Big


Friendly Giant does is he captures dreams in a cave and he puts them


into jars and then he takes them to children all over the world and he


blows them into their ear to make sure they have lovely dreams and not


horrible ones. Taking inspiration from Dahl's book, she is helping


youngsters create dreams and dream jars. We've got some lovely objects


to put in your dream jars. With all this fun going on, I couldn't resist


joining in. Good job. What is the aim of this workshop? It's a great


opportunity for children to be involved in the weekend and have


fun. They can use their imagination a bit and celebrate Roald Dahl's


work. Took me three or dream jar. It is about dinosaurs. A good dream or


a bad dream? A good dream. My full ways wanted to see a dinosaur. It is


like Jurassic Park in a jar. The dream jar with dinosaurs having fun


on holiday. That is amazing. Stegosaurus is standing upside down


having a little sleep in the tree. Because that is what they do. With


pterodactyls flying backwards on his tummy. That's a dream would all like


to have. With some simple props and an empty dream jar, the kids have


allowed their imagination to run wild which is exactly what Roald


Dahl is all about. It has been a BFG dream come true. The finished dream


jars will take pride of place in Bute Park on Sunday where everyone


is invited to whether pyjamas and joining The Great Pyjama Picnic. And


prizes will be awarded for the best feasts. Over at the Cardiff Central


youth club, a group of voluntary community performers are being put


through their paces by Nigel. In a line, keep it moving! They are


playing the part of the no-nonsense killjoys, the Ministry of the


predictable. What the hell is going on over here? Face that way. This


group is going to be responsible for keeping order in the city. They are


in charge of all the different codes and orders. They have thousands of


kilometres of hazard tape to place and they are desperately trying to


keep control. But like you all to take a pencil out of your left-hand


pocket and lived it up a little. And blew it because you kept it to the


finest point that you can. He is helping us move around and be stern


and writing notes and everything. Then you will stick it on to the


front of the camera without... And proper health and safety job,


really! The minister says... Runaround. Go! Stop! No! We often


use games, simple games to get the energy going. Runaround, go! Stop!


Let's go! Then focus on the drama, in this case, Simon says. That was


really, really fun. We were getting to work together as a unit. I'm


looking forward to it. Stop! No! Nigel is mental but perfect for this


sort of thing. Absolutely amazing working with him. Are you ready?


Let's move. Theatrical event on this scale needs all sorts of props and


sets to help tell the story and draw the story and so I've come to the


Royal Welsh College of music and drama's scenic workshop to meet the


team responsible for these all-important elements. You are busy


painting. You're the assistant designer. How many props are you


making? In all, there are thousands because there are so many people


involved. And different set for different books? There are certain


storylines we will follow. Some are secret. It's all under wraps, I love


it! Is this the biggest event you worked on? Yes. And the mistrustful?


Yes! -- the most stressful. We give me a guided tour? Yes. What is this?


This is one of our polar explorer sledgers. We'll have two in the end,


a Norwegian one and a British one and they are not to his past of


Roald Dahl being Norwegian. It is covered in some fake fur that we


have painted down to look like they are covered in snow with lots of


different fabrics. This looks like an icicle, maybe? We have been


making icicles to add on and these are made from a glue gun. The team


has sourced allsorts of props to make everything as realistic as


possible. The attention to detail is impressive. If you are in the


Arctic, you need a cup of tea. Of course! This is the British one.


We have a Fantastic Mr Fox here and his family. This is Mr Fox, his wife


and two children. These are masks that will be worn by performers so


you have to spot them during the day. They will get allsorts of


mischief. What are they made of? They aren't casting moulds that you


can see here. This is one part that has come out, his nose. It is


covered in fabric and then cut back. That is the fun bit, isn't it? Yes.


Can I try one on? Full the front down and over. Can you see three?


Is folksy lady! -- foxy. The props dotted around the workshop are


straight from the pages of Roald Dahl's books as every day materials


are turned into works of art. Today, they're turning tennis balls into


peaches for an all-important banqueting scene. We are putting


paint on it to give it more texture and colour. Do you want to have a


go? It's a very yellow peach. I'm not sure that's right! Did you take


inspiration from real peaches? Yes, we have real peaches we're using the


colours from. There are loads of different components we aim to get


involved in and our job is really fun, we get to do a lot of painting,


glueing, sewing, there is a lot of different elements. This looks


incredibly small considering that Roald Dahl is famously known for the


giant Peach. This is quite big, this is bigger, but will we be seeing a


Giant Peach? You'll have to come and see. I was grateful for the tour but


with the weekend fast approaching, it's back to work. The next stop is


something that is right up my street.


You have composed of three new pieces for the show. It is an


honour. I grew up reading all of Roald Dahl's children's books and


that is something really nice in my old age, my 30s, to pay tribute to


that man and his characters, getting to write music and lyrics to it is


really nice. As he hear what he was, how do you begin channelling that


wonderful imagination? He's got a vocabulary, is language is very


magical, he has words like whizzpopping. I'm having a lot of


fun with that. Hopefully the music suggests a sense of magic and


otherworldly and the unexpected. Who's going to be singing this magic


on the day? We've got lots of children's quires and community


choirs who are going to be singing the songs, so that in itself is such


a privilege. I can't wait to hear it. Keeping everything harmonious on


the day is music supervisor David Marney. It's a very exciting


opportunity and one of the most ambitious project I've ever been


involved with. We're looking at about 3000 musicians throughout the


weekend, so new to us all. In addition to established quires, --


choirs, the project gives anyone the opportunity to take part and perform


the new music. And at the end of the weekend, the entire cast will come


together to perform his new anthem, title-mac thank you, Cardiff.


You'll have to come at the weekend to see the rest of it. Unexpected


pleasures in Cardiff, that's the excitement. I was a huge file of


Roald Dahl's books, the BFG, James the giant Peach, Charlie and the


factory, the list is endless and I cannot believe the man who brought


all these characters to life grew up in the village next to me. Roald


Dahl was born to Norwegian parents on the 3rd of September, 1916, and


was baptised in the Norwegian Church. They moved to Cumberland


Lodge following the death of his father and sister. A very important


figure was Joss Spivvis, we don't know anything about him other than


his name was Jones and he was a previous Rhondda miner. He used to


tell Roald Dahl terrible stories of when he went down the mine and that


comes back in interesting ways in Roald Dahl's description of the


giant elevator. They are described in exactly the same ways, so at the


heart of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is a Rhondda minor's


experience. This blue plaque marks the four sweet shop where he used to


buy his sweets during his time at school which is well documented in


his autobiography, Boy. They played a trick on the miserable sweet shop


owner Mrs Pratchett by putting a dead mouse into a jug of -- jar of


gobstoppers. They didn't get away with it and they were trained by the


headmaster as punishment. In 1925, his mother sent across the Bristol


Channel to boarding school in Weston-Super-Mare but his boyhood in


Cardiff left a lasting impression. He never used to go to sleep unless


he was aligning himself in his bed with Llandaff over the Bristol


Channel that Roald Dahl always engaged in and it is my strong


belief he was constantly homing back to Wales in his writing.


The animal Wall on Castle Street with its serious of animals and


gargoyles peering over the castle wall is one of Cardiff's most iconic


features, but in keeping with the unexpected theme, where anything can


happen, design students from the Royal Welsh College and Trinity


College are working on a surprise of their own. They've been tasked with


creating their own Roald Dahl inspired animated puppets to sit


alongside the existing gargoyles and he's weird and wonderful creatures


will delight and surprise the audiences visiting the City of the


Unexpected. What are you up to? Obviously Roald Dahl talks about


different creatures from other worlds so we have taken those and


shuffled them all into one creature. It has these volcano horns that, it


is back and then he's got this enormous head which opens up to


reveal a little bird. We are puppeteering as well. We are the


kids that actually grew up with Roald Dahl's stories, so it is


fantastic to be able to channel are childhood imaginations into these


creations. It looks like you've got the messy job. It's the best job!


You've got to get nice and messy. It's latex. We're covering bits of


fabric in it, soaking it in it then applying it, it makes a really good


covering. This guy looks like he has an important job. You glueing his


head on? I'm using a soldering iron to melt into the shape I want, so


this is the head of Bert. He is mainly made out of thermoplastic, so


just heat it up and we can ship it into whatever we want. Show me how


it will work on the day. We got this frame that will open up on that sits


on the top of the wall so he kind of hangs on and this head hangs down.


It'll be able to open up and reveal little surprise inside. I love it.


Look out for Bert! What's this going to be? It's the bird from The Twits.


How does it work on the day? We will have the mother bird sat on top. She


will have her wings over like she's asleep, then she will open her wings


and she will pick a beat, blinked her eyes and the chicks will pop out


of the egg and say hello. This Roald Dahl world is definitely taking


shape and with the City of the Unexpected weekend just around the


corner, some very strange occurrences are being reported


online. Join us at the Riverside farmers market in Cardiff.


Eyewitnesses have described what appears to be a human sized fox like


figure enjoying the organic and home-made produce heat on the


market. We got a member of the ministry here today. Maybe we can


get some comments. No. Something seems to be happening. Let's get


this! I went to meet Matt Wright, digital designer for the online


content to find out more. We've created a really playful in world


Roald Dahl News website called the Bulletin, which provides a bit of


background content. If you're going to be there, you can actually


download an app we have created, so if there is something really


exciting happening over there and you are back here today bit


confused, you'll get a message coming through that tells you where


the sighting is happening. So you're signposting of these exciting


things? Exactly. There's some stuff on the website to see all ready,


isn't there? There is a selection of beautifully written stories. It also


suggests where a large food might appear -- fruit! We've also been


making nice video content. We worked with Derek Brockley. He forecasted


the weather in a very Roald Dahl we! -- way. If you're there during the


day, more information, how can you get involved? Either on your phone


or tablet, do you search for City of the Unexpected and all will be


revealed... Or not! There's no denying that this is an event on a


scale really seem in Wales -- seen. Down at this high school, the team


are rehearsing a particularly tricky set piece. The police have been


involved in the planning from the start, but Nigel has roped in


members of the public services into helping out and as per usual,


everything is top secret. We are rehearsing for the opening scene of


our event. We got fire engines, we got police, we've got all sorts to


cope with the very serious, dangerous thing that's going to


happen. We will treated exactly as we would leave real emergency. We


will work with the police force. I can't really say too much. Police,


let's move in a little bit, that's for a cauldron around it. Director


Nigel must only action skills of all involved to make the scene as


realistic as dramatic as possible. You're not at a picnic, a few at a


national disaster! -- you're at! What would be the next procedure if


it was radioactive? We can evacuate the immediate area. Congratulations,


we got the Oscar polished down here. I think the performing arts must sit


in the heart of the Welsh people and certainly the public services, who


had an important part of this scene -- who are an important part. True


to its title, City of the Unexpected will keep the visitors to Cardiff on


their toes as they enjoy some Roald Dahl magic and mayhem on the very


streets of this city that made him. After two years of planning and


months of designing, creating an rehearsing, all that's left to do is


to add some final finishing touches. We are all a little bit weary, but


very excited. Fingers crossed. As long as we don't get hit with too


many unexpected events from the heavens, I think we possibly got


something that people will remember, hopefully, for a long time. The last


few details are being put in place. I just can't wait for this magical


celebration to unfold. I'll be back next Wednesday at 7:30pm to bring


you all of the highlights. Remember, you can get life update sent


straight to your phone by visiting the City of the Unexpected website.


One thing is for sure, it's going to be an unmissable weekend and we can


expect the unexpected! Hello, I'm Tina Daheley


with your 90 second update. Today, nurse Pauline Cafferkey


has been cleared of misconduct.


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