Dahl-icious ways to mark centenary

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The release of Steven Spielberg’s The BFG fired the gun on celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of magical writer Roald Dahl’s birth...and Lancashire is joining in the family fun

Fans of all ages will be able to relive their most magical memories over August and September as Preston-based cultural producers TheyEatCulture present a diverse series of screenings as part of the British Film Institute’s national celebration of Roald Dahl on Film, and their own ongoing ‘Cinema Around the Corner’ project.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Working with Film Hub Wales, and Chapter as Film Hub Lead Organisation, TheyEatCulture have developed a family-friendly film programme for Preston that will celebrate 100 years of the world’s number one storyteller, who was born in Cardiff in 1916.

First up is a screening of Danny DeVito’s much-loved adaptation of Matilda on August 13 at The Continental – with a difference. Families will be able smell their way through the classic story with specially commissioned cards from Scratch ‘N Sniff Cinema!

Saturday August 20 sees some Roald Dahl magic brought to Preston’s Flag Market with a free outdoor screening of Disney’s James and the Giant Peach. There’ll also be family activities (to be confirmed), to keep you entertained prior to the screening. Limited seating will be available, so Dahl fans are encouraged to bring their own seats, blankets and refreshments to enjoy this outdoor cinema experience in the heart of the city.

Grown-ups will have to leave the kids at home for the next screening, taking place at The Continental on Tuesday August 30. The Night Digger (AKA The Road Builder) is a lesser-known 1971 thriller adapted by Roald Dahl from a novel by Joy Cowley, and starring his then-wife Patricia Neal. While an adult serial-killer-melodrama-cum-May-to-December-romance picture may seem to sit oddly in Dahl’s body of work it displays all the offbeat imagination and black humour that one associates with the writer, not to mention a fine array of great British character actors.

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach

Also of interest to the more mature Roald Dahl admirer is September 2’s free screening of four Roald Dahl-penned episodes of classic TV show Alfred Hitchcock Presents, again at TEC’s home of cultural programming, The Continental. These twisty tales of skulduggery are still every bit as entertaining as they were in the late 50s and early 60s –- and who can forget that classic theme?

A timeless family favourite gets a welcome airing on September 9 when Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is screened at Preston’s Foxton Centre. Adapted by Roald Dahl from a novel by 007 creator Ian Fleming, the film continues to thrill and delight children of all ages. So step into your flying car and don’t forget your ‘toot sweets’!

With one more screening to be announced and more family activities planned, it’s all shaping up to be a wonderful celebration of one of the world’s best loved storytellers. The nationwide season launch coincided with the release of Steven Spielberg’s The BFG this month, and culminates on Roald Dahl Day on September 13 – 100 years since Roald Dahl’s birth.

See TheyEatCulture and The Continental’s websites for more information.

The Night Digger

The Night Digger

AT A GLANCE

Saturday August 13, The Continental - Matilda (PG) Scratch n’ Sniff – 2pm, £3 each or £10 family of 4

Saturday August 20, Preston Flag Market – James and the Giant Peach (U) – 7.30pm, Free

Tuesday August 30, The Continental – The Night Digger (18) – 7.30pm, £4 on the door

Friday September 2, The Continental – Alfred Hitchcock Presents: ‘Lamb to the

Slaughter’, ‘A Dip in the Pool’, ‘The Man from the South’ &

‘The Landlady’ – 7.30pm, Free entry

Friday September 9, The Foxton Centre – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (U) – 6pm. £4 on the door, free to Foxton clients

Not to be outdone... Family friendly events are taking place at The Dukes in Lancaster to celebrate Roald Dahl’s centenary and the release of The BFG on the big screen. The film fun begins today with Steven Spielberg’s take on The BFG (PG). Screenings continue until August 4.

On July 30, from 11.30am-1.30pm, there’s a free drop-in workshop creating dream mobiles to hang in your bedroom.

A film version of another classic Dahl story – James & The Giant Peach (U) - is screened on August 30 followed by a Stop Motion Animation Workshop. Workshop tickets are £5 and children must be accompanied by a participating adult.

On September 2 and 3, there are free screenings in The Dukes gallery of six episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, inspired by Roald Dahl’s chilling short stories.

There’s a chance to enjoy a Scratch ‘N’ Sniff version of Danny DeVito’s much loved adaptation of Matilda (PG) on September 3 and beforehand there’s a free drop-in workshop using coloured wax to create stained glass effect bookmarks and window decorations.

September 10 is dedicated to Willy Wonka with a screening of the film starring Gene Wilder plus a free drop-in puppetmaking workshop. There’s also a Willy Wonka inspired drama workshop for children aged 5-11. Tickets are £4.

Learn to create balloon power toy cars at a free drop-in workshop on September 17 ahead of a screening of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (U). Dahl co-wrote the screenplay for this classic film.

Porco Rosso (PG), a thrilling treat from Studio Ghibli partially inspired by Dahl’s wartime experiences, is screened on October 1 following a free workshop making pig masks and origami pigs.

And the Dahl season ends on October 8 with a screening of The Witches (PG) and a free workshop where you can make your own white mice toy in a Swiss cheese box.

Tickets for The BFG and Scratch ‘N’ Sniff Matilda are £6.50/£5.50 concessions/£4.50 Under 18s while all other screenings are £2.50 (apart from the free Alfred Hitchcock Presents). Drop-in workshops are free to film ticketholders. A £1 per transaction fee applies to online bookings.

For more information or to book, call The Dukes Box Office on 01524 598500 or online at http://www.dukes-lancaster.org.