In honour of the Roald Dahl’s centenary, and Steven Spielberg adaptation of Dahl’s book The BFG, London and other British cities is playing host to fifty “Dream Jars” representing the dreams of well-known personalities.
In The BFG, the titular Big Friendly Giant collects and mixes dreams, which he blows into children’s bedrooms. Celebrities from Steven Spielberg to physicist Stephen Hawking or Game of Thrones actor Maisie Williams described dreams to artists, who have created visual representations of them in jars that are displayed on a series of Dream Jar trails for visitors to discover.
The Dahl Connection
Several of the jars were designed by people connected to Dahl and the film. Sir Quentin Blake illustrated all of Dahl’s children’s books, and created his own jar. Spielberg remembered a childhood dream of being able to eat as many sweet things as he liked without being sick. His jar is titled “Sweet Dreams”. Mark Rylance, who plays the BFG, imagined a carousel inside a glass house – an image which could be straight out of a Dahl story. Model and author Sophie Dahl is Roald’s granddaughter, and he gave her name to the heroine of The BFG. Her jar is a seaside idyll with mermaids and a lighthouse.
The Jars were on show all summer, and then auctioned off for children’s charities Save the Children and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. Dahl and his wife created the charity to help seriously ill children. It was a cause close to their hearts as Dahl lost a sister and a daughter, each aged seven, to appendicitis and measles encephalitis. The BFG book was dedicated to his late daughter, Olivia. Dahl’s only son Theo developed hydrocephalus or “water on the brain” as a baby. Theo was ill for years before finally recovering and Dahl helped develop a pioneering piece of medical equipment to help with the condition.
Ruby Barnhill, who plays Sophie in The BFG film chose an image of a girl reading piles of books for her Dream Jar. She says, “Save the Children runs programmes to help children read and learn, so I’m really pleased that The BFG Dream Jar Trail is raising money for their work.”
You can view the jars and download the trail maps, as well as enter a competition to win a trip to London, on the visitlondon site. And for teaching ideas for The BFG and dreams, see our webpicks below.
> The BFG Webpicks
> Teaching with Roald Dahl