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Revolting and Ridiculous: A Roald Dahl Retrospective


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‘Never grow up … always down.’ This excellent advice appears in George’s Marvellous Medicine, but it might have been Roald Dahl’s personal motto. Has any other children’s author known how to grow down as well as Dahl?

Dahl never condescended to his readers, but indulged their obsessions (lollies, fart jokes, nonsense neologisms) and fed their appetite for tales of the macabre and  grotesque. From Revolting Rhymes to The Twits to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Matilda and many more, Dahl’s writing crackled with exuberance, imagination and irrepressible puerility. His books have been published in 59 languages with more than 200 million book sales worldwide.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth – so the Wheeler Centre will get revolting and ridiculous on stage with guests including Andy Griffiths, Jess McGuire, Kate McLennan, Tim Rogers, Anna Burke and more. They’ll wax nostalgic, perform extracts from Dahl’s vast body of work, delve into the recurring themes of his stories and discuss the life of this incomparable, sometimes controversial, author.

Join us for a celebration of snozzcumbers, swishfigglers and whoopsy-splunkers. (For health and safety reasons, all audience whizzpopping must take place outside the venue.) #Dahl100

Note: While this event is aimed at grown-ups, children are welcome!

(Event image: photograph by Michael Dyer, with illustrations by Quentin Blake.)


Michael Williams

Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011. He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015... Read more

Andy Griffiths

Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. He and illustrator Terry Denton have collaborated on more than 33 bestselling books since their first title, Just Tricking, was published in 1997.In Australia, Andy and Terry’s books have sold over 10 million copies, won... Read more

Kate McLennan

Kate McLennan is an award-winning writer, stand-up comedian and actress. She is the co-writer of The Katering Show, where she plays an intolerable foodie alongside her food intolerant mate, Kate McCartney. The show launched on YouTube in 2015 and hit over 2 million views in its first week online. I... Read more

Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers is one of Australia’s most enduring and respected rock icons. Tim is the frontman singer and lyricist for the legendary Australian rock bands You Am I and The Temperance Union.  Tim’s songs pay homage to his love of women, his child and life in all its weird and wonderful in... Read more

Anna Burke

Anna Burke was the elected representative for the Victorian electoral division of Chisholm in the Australian Parliament from 1998 until 2016; she served as the Speaker of the House of Representatives during the 43rd Parliament from 2012 to 2103. Prior to becoming Speaker, Anna served as Deputy Spea... Read more

Jess McGuire

Jess McGuire is a writer and broadcaster based in central west NSW, and hosts breakfast radio each weekday morning on on ABC Western Plains. She previously appeared regularly as a reviewer and cultural commentator on Double J and ABC Local Radio stations across the country, and for many years she wa... Read more


Athenaeum Theatre

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, past and present.