Blake and Dahl build a giant peach of a show

ILLUSTRATOR Quentin Blake was in Newcastle yesterday to share a snozzcumber with some young Roald Dahl fans.

ILLUSTRATOR Quentin Blake was in Newcastle yesterday to share a snozzcumber with some young Roald Dahl fans.

Quentin Blake

The work of both men is celebrated in an exhibition at Seven Stories: Snozzcumbers and Frobscottle! The Wonderful World of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.

The fruitful partnership began in 1978 when Blake illustrated Dahl’s tale The Enormous Crocodile.

He was then commissioned to illustrate all Dahl’s other famous stories, including The BFG which introduced snozzcumbers and frobscottle.

Although the illustrations from Blake’s own archive make up the bulk of the exhibition, a highlight is likely to be Dahl’s sandal – displayed in a perspex case – which provided the inspiration for the footwear sported by the BFG (Big Friendly Giant).

Viewing the exhibition at Seven Stories, the centre for children’s books in Newcastle’s Ouseburn Valley, Blake said he hadn’t needed to be told by Dahl how the figures should look.

“The text is the guidebook,” he said.

“I think there are some illustrators who think ‘this is my opportunity to express myself’, but the guide to the characters is the text.

“You just have to immerse yourself in it.”

An interview with Quentin Blake will appear in The Journal tomorrow.

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It's a jam-packed fun-filled weekend

THE Quentin Blake exhibition, which opens to the public tomorrow, is just one highlight of a busy cultural weekend in the region.

Today sees the opening of an exhibition of Beryl Cook’s paintings at Baltic, Gateshead. The octogenarian specialises in pictures of plump people having fun.

The Durham International Brass Festival climaxes in a free outdoor concert in the grounds of County Hall at Aykley Heads. Serbian band Boban i Marko Markovic Orkestar reputedly stole the show at a concert with Oasis, this is their only UK gig and it starts at 4.15pm today.

The Whitley Bay International Jazz Festival starts tonight – 60 concerts, 30 bands – over the weekend at the Menzies Silverlink Park Hotel, North Shields.

The 14th Brinkburn Music festival, at Brinkburn Priory, near Rothbury, enters its second weekend with choral concerts, the Northern Sinfonia, the Gabrieli Consort and pianist Paul Lewis.

On Saturday and Sunday the Mouth of the Tyne Festival has carnival parades tomorrow morning in North and South Tyneside French theatre company Transe Express in South Shields tomorrow night and a concert at Tynemouth Priory: African singer Mory Kanté, Alex Wilson Salsa Orchestra and Boys of the Lough.

The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular opens Durham County Cricket Club’s music weekend at the Riverside, Chester-le-Street, tonight. Tomorrow there are opera singers Jon Christos and Juliette Pochin.

On Sunday evening Sunderland’s Stadium of Light hosts its first concert – popular classics from the Sunderland Symphony Orchestra.

Tonight is the first performance in Jesmond Dene, Newcastle, by outdoor theatre specialists Heartbreak Productions – The Wizard of Oz Twelfth Night, Cry Blue Murder! and The Merchant of Venice run on until July 29.

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