STILL OUR HERO

CEL­E­BRAT­ING 30 YEARS OF MATILDA AS THE ROALD DAHL MU­SEUM PRE­PARES TO RE­OPEN

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - By ELEANOR FLEMING eleanor.fleming@reach­plc.com @elfin­wood44

WONDERCRUMP news! Af­ter a six month clo­sure to re­pair its flood-dam­aged gal­leries the Roald Dahl Mu­seum and Story Cen­tre is set to re­open.

The much-loved fam­ily at­trac­tion in Great Mis­senden was forced to close in May af­ter flash floods but will open again in time for the au­tumn half term on Octo- ber 20. Dur­ing half term, the Mu­seum will also be host­ing life size stat­ues of Matilda Worm­wood stand­ing up to Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

Th­ese sculp­tures were cre­ated as part of Matilda 30 – a na­tion­wide cel­e­bra­tion mark­ing 30 years on from the first pub­li­ca­tion of Roald Dahl’s ever pop­u­lar tale.

The Roald Dahl Story Com­pany com­mis­sioned a sur­vey ask­ing the UK pub­lic how they imag­ine Mat- ilda’s life in the year 2018, in­clud­ing who they thought Matilda might be stand­ing up to, hav­ing mem­o­rably faced down The Trunch­bull. The over­whelm­ing pub­lic choice was Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

The dam­age caused by the flood at the mu­seum was lim­ited to one end of the site and so Roald Dahl’s Ar­chive and his world-fa­mous Writ­ing Hut were un­harmed. How­ever, the Story Cen­tre Gallery had to be com­pletely stripped out and re­built from scratch.

Mu­seum di­rec­tor, Steve Gar­dam, said: “Af­ter an im­mense amount of hard work we are phizz-whizzingly ex­cited that we are re­open­ing in time for half term, and we’ve got lots of swash­bog­gling ac­tiv­i­ties planned for that week to cel­e­brate.

“We’ve recre­ated the fantab­u­lous replica Writ­ing Hut where you can try out Roald Dahl’s writ­ing chair, you can get in­spired at the Ideas Ta­ble, make a stop-frame an­i­ma­tion, cre­ate some fridge-mag­net non­sense sto­ries and en­joy footage of Roald Dahl him­self talk­ing about his craft. Cre­ate a dis­gus­ter­ous

Twits’ din­ner plate, a witchy mask or a crodswog­gling clay crit­ter and join in with swish­wif­fling sto­ry­telling.

“So whether you are a brand new vis­i­tor, or some­one who knows us well, we’ve got oo­dles for you to en­joy.”

The Mu­seum, which opened in 2005, is lo­cated in Great Mis­senden - the Buck­ing­hamshire vil­lage where Roald Dahl lived and wrote for 36 years.

Roald Dahl joined the RAF at the age of 23 and be­gan writ­ing, ini­tially for adults, af­ter be­ing in­jured in a plane crash dur­ing the Sec­ond World War.

Sit­ting in a hut at the bot­tom of his gar­den, he went on to write some of the world’s best-loved chil­dren’s sto­ries, in­clud­ing Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory, James and the Gi­ant Peach, Matilda, and The BFG.

To­day, his sto­ries are avail­able in 61 lan­guages and, by a con­ser­va­tive es­ti­mate, he has sold more than 250 mil­lion books.

Many of th­ese sto­ries have also been adapted for stage and screen, in­clud­ing the 1971 film clas­sic, Willy Wonka and the Choco­late Fac­tory, Wes An­der­son’s ac­claimed Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox, Steven Spiel­berg’s spec­tac­u­lar adap­ta­tion of The BFG, and the multi-award winning Matilda The Mu­si­cal from the RSC with mu­sic by Tim Minchin.

At the Mu­seum, vis­i­tors can ex­pe­ri­ence three hands-on mul­ti­me­dia gal­leries: Boy Gallery, Solo Gallery and the Story Cen­tre Gallery.

Boy Gallery looks at how Roald Dahl’s school days in­spired his story ideas in later life; Solo Gallery houses his orig­i­nal Writ­ing Hut, com­plete with its col­lec­tion of odd me­men­toes, and the Story Cen­tre Gallery has a wide range of Roald Dahl work­shops and events to in­spire the writer in ev­ery­one.

Vis­i­tors can fol­low one of the mu­seum’s trails to walk the his­toric High Street and the beau­ti­ful Buck­ing­hamshire woods in the au­thor’s foot­steps.

You can see Danny’s dad’s petrol pumps from Danny, the Cham­pion of the World; Crown House that in­spired So­phie’s ‘nor-phan­age’ in The BFG; Matilda’s li­brary; the woods where Fan­tas­tic Mr Fox lived, and you can also visit Roald Dahl’s grave at the Church of St Pe­ter and Paul.

For full list­ings, times and prices of the Mu­seum’s events, please visit: www.roald­dahl.com/mu­seum/what­son.

PHOTO: DAVID PARRY/PA WIRE

A statue of Roald Dahl’s Matilda un­veiled in Great Mis­senden along­side one of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, to cel­e­brate the 30th an­niver­sary of Matilda the novel

PHOTO: DAVID PARRY/PA WIRE

The new statue of Matilda un­veiled to mark the book’s 30th an­niver­sary

PHOTOS: AMY WATTERS

Kids en­joy the in­spi­ra­tional gal­leries and ac­tiv­i­ties at the Roald Dahl Mu­seum

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