UWTSD Theatre Design Students bring Roald Dahl’s greedy crocodile to life


Students from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David’s BA Theatre Design and Production course had the amazing experience of being part of last weekend’s Roald Dahl’s ‘City of the Unexpected’ event – a celebration of Roald Dahl 100 that took place in Cardiff. 

What started out as the product of a course module soon developed into a fantastic live project working with prestigious partners including National Theatre Wales and Wales Millennium Centre.

The Students were originally looking at how to design for a challenging piece of text so they explored some of at Roald Dahl’s work before deciding on The Enormous Crocodile.

They built a giant 12 foot crocodile as part of their ‘Stage in action’ module which was in turn seen by Production Manager, Jacob Gough from National Theatre Wales who was also working on ‘City of the Unexpected.’

Impressed by the standard of their work, Jacob invited the students to take part in this centenary project, asking them to create a crocodile puppet based on their previous work as part of the celebration that was masterminded by seasoned creative director Nigel Jamieson, who also directed of the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics opening ceremony.

“This has been a fantastic project for our students and graduates to be involved in, I’m so proud of their work and commitment during this summer,” says Theatre Design and Production lecturer, Stacey-Jo Atkinson.

“It’s such a privilege for us to be part of such an iconic event and the experience our students and graduates have gained has been invaluable.”

The students forsook their Summer break and returned to the scenic workshop in Carmarthen during August to get to work on designing and building a new crocodile puppet for the large-scale centenary event, under the direction of Scenic Construction lecturer and production manager, Dave Atkinson and professional puppet maker Jess Jones.

As well as working on the crocodile - which sat proudly on the wall of Cardiff Castle - two current students and two graduates of the BA in Theatre Design and Production course have also been on placement as part of the project.

Second-year students, Hadley Taylor and Katie King were both chosen to be work on placements on ‘City of the Unexpected’ – Hadley as an Assistant Production Manager and Katie as a Show Caller. Recent graduates worked on the event too - Becca Moore as an Assistant Stage Manager and Becky Ellard in the costume department.

Hadley Taylor relished every moment of his time working on the Roald Dahl celebrations and found the experience invaluable:

"Working with National Theatre Wales on ‘City of the Unexpected’ has been a huge opportunity which I have taken great pleasure in working on,” says Hadley.  “It has given me a chance to work on things I have not experienced before. Not only to push my limits but also the limits of events and theatre – as well as meeting and working  with new and exciting people who are highly rated professionals.   This has been a great way to get my name out there in the industry and ultimately, I’m sure it will to improve my career prospects. I have loved working on the event and I was so excited to see it all come together as well as the reaction of the audience."

Katie King agrees whole-heartedly that the opportunities that she and her fellow students have been given will stand them in good stead in their future careers:

"As a second year student on the BA Theatre Design and Production course it’s been amazing to have had the opportunity to be on a placement with National Theatre Wales as part of Roald Dahl’s ‘City of the Unexpected’ celebrations in Cardiff,” says Katie King.

“The course has helped me broaden my knowledge, understanding and experience in a variety of theatrical elements in breadth and depth. I am really looking forward to my third and final year at UWTSD, in which I will be able to put into practice all the knowledge, skills and experience that I have gained."

For more information about the BA (Hons) Theatre Design and Production course at UWTSD’s Carmarthen campus, please contact Stacey-Jo Atkinson by emailing s.atkinson@uwtsd.ac.uk or visit the course’s twitter and instagram pages at UWTSD_perf_arts


Further Information

  1. For further information, please contact Sian-Elin Davies, Principal Communications and PR Officer on 01267 676908 / 07449 998476 / sian-elin.davies@uwtsd.ac.uk