Dear Zoo Kids Theatre Production at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre *


To celebrate its 36th Anniversary, Dear Zoo a well known children’s book by Rod Campbell has been turned into a Theatre Production for the first time and is being shown at Stafford Gatehouse Theatre to co-incide with the February half term holidays. The three main characters who were entertaining us were, Sally, Sam and Ben. Ben being the one who wrote the letter to the zoo, Sally being his best friend and Sam who was the Zoo Keeper who delivers the animals.


Here’s a photo of our kids with the Dear Zoo book, a book which they grew up reading and remember so well.

What is the Dear Zoo book about?

‘Dear Zoo is the story of a child who writes to the zoo asking them to send a pet!  Its a fabulous book for young kids, brightly illustrated with bold artwork but still small enough for little hands with easy lift-the-flap book and thick chunky and sturdy pages to keep toddlers mesmerised.  First published in 1982, the book continues to delight each new generation of children as they lift the flaps in search of the perfect animal.’


There was also a souvenir shop on the first floor selling various gifts for the kids to buy little gifts from.


About the Show

‘Written by Rod Campbell, the master of interactive storytelling and an expert in early learning for pre-schoolers, he is also the creator of more than 200 books for children.  His unique ability to be both fun and reassuring encourages children to discover and delight in the world around them.   The show is produced by Norwell Lapley Productions and directed by Michael Gattrell.  Dear Zoo live on stage is suitable for children aged 2 – 6 years.  Brought to life through child-engaging puppets, original music and lots of audience interaction, it will immediately appeal to families and children who already love the book and will serve as a wonderful introduction to those coming to the story for the first time.’



Ben and Sally with Frog who was very bouncy


What did we think of the show?

We loved it!  Our kids enjoyed the one hour show and the anticipation of waiting to see which animal came out (although they already knew as they have read the book).  My son enjoyed the frog and the monkey the most as both animals were really silly and funny.  The one hour show was filled with fun, dance and song and kept all the kids from young toddlers to the age of seven on their toes.  Our kids joined in the action and singing and you could see the joy on their face when whenever both Sally and Ben came out or when they heard the sound of Sam’s van.

It was also great that the show was interactive and encouraged crowd participating whereby the kids had the chance to get up from their seats and jump, roar or strech with the cast. We noticed that some of the kids were so engrossed with the show that they got a little scared whe the lion came out of the box and roared but they soon calmed down and joined in the fun.  The props which were mainly different sized boxes (where the animals were placed) were nicely done and brightly painted to attract the attention of the kids.  Personally, we think that the show was fabulous and should not be missed especially if you have grown up with the book and are now reading it to your kids.


When is Dear Zoo ?

The show will run on Wednesday, 21 February and Thursday, 22 February 2018 at 11am and 2pm

How much are the tickets ?

Tickets are priced at £14.50 each.  Family ticket £52.00.

How can I book ?

Tickets can be booked by calling the box office on 01785 619080 or by visiting Stafford Gatehouse Theatre’s website.


Sally and Ben with the Camel who was grumpy


Where is Stafford Gatehouse Theatre?

Stafford Gatehouse is an old Victorian theatre for professional and amateur shows, including Shakespeare and children’s plays. In 2007, the Borough Hall was reopened as Stafford Gatehouse Theatre, by his Royal Highness the Duke of Gloucester. The Borough Hall was originally opened on 20 June 1877 and the building once housed Stafford Borough Council.

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre
Eastgate Street
ST16 2LT
Tel: 01785 619080

Where to park?

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is in the heart of Stafford, just seconds from the main shopping centre and central tourist attractions. It is less than 10 minutes drive from Junctions 13 and 14 of the M6 and can be found by following the theatre mask symbols on routes into the town centre. There are ample parking facilities a short walk away from the theatre and cycle racks are available outside the building.

You may also want to read : Visit to the Potteries Museum & Art Gallery in Hanley


* We were offered tickets in exchange for the review. All opionions are our own.


  1. February 21, 2018 / 6:34 pm

    This sounds like a lot of fun! I wish I had younger relatives I could take to the show. The book definitely rings a bell – I’m sure most people would have read the book as kids.


    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:14 am

      Yes if they did not, they would have read it to their kids or a young family member. Our kids loved it and it was one of their favourite books.

  2. February 21, 2018 / 6:35 pm

    I loved reading Dear Zoo with my kids. The stage show looks fantastic. Such a great book to turn into a show.

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:14 am

      Yes who would have thought that after 36 years it would be turned into a theatre show!

  3. February 21, 2018 / 8:20 pm

    aw this looks like a lot of fun. Good running time for little ones – my two love the book! x

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:13 am

      Yes the one hour was perfect for them, as almost all the kids were glued to the show and did not move away from their chairs

  4. February 21, 2018 / 9:30 pm

    Little man loved the Dear Zoo book when he was younger so I am sure he would enjoy the show too!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:12 am

      Oh I hope they do come over to your place, last shows are on today, hope you can catch it x

  5. February 22, 2018 / 12:56 am

    Talk about a good show for the kids. It’s entertaining and exciting and definitely a must see for them. I’m glad that your family had a great time!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:12 am

      Thanks Alison, yes they loved it x

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:11 am

      Yes, totally agree it was double bonus for them! They loved it xx

  6. February 22, 2018 / 4:18 am

    Did the show feature any cheetahs? I mean,they are the best animals at any zoo,right?
    Sorry that grumpy old lion scared your kids…..cheetahs are a LOT more friendly!!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:11 am

      No unfortunately, as they followed the animals in the book. My kids were alright, the smaller ones were a little scared of the lion.

  7. February 22, 2018 / 8:05 am

    Aww, all of my kids loved Dear Zoo when they were wee and what a lovely event to have gone too!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 22, 2018 / 10:07 am

      Yes ours loved it so much as well !

  8. February 22, 2018 / 10:46 am

    My friends kids love this book so this show sounds great! It’s nice when things like this come out for school holidays x

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 8:24 am

      Yes, its another activity to take the kids too and keep them entertained especially when the weather is still cold outside.

  9. February 22, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    What a fab day out for the family. A show is always a nice outing to bring kids and parents together x

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 8:23 am

      It certainly was Melanie, yes and we saw lots of grandparents with the grandkids too

  10. February 22, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    Oh this looks like a great production! I love Dear Zoo, it’s one of our favourite books and Im sure the kids would love this!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 8:23 am

      Yes they enjoyed it very very much!

  11. February 23, 2018 / 2:55 am

    Looks like a great production. I think the prices are affordable as well. Like that they have single and family tickets. How many people are considered when purchasing a family ticket though?

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 8:23 am

      Yes it was worth every penny. Family tickets are usually four, two adults and two kids, thats the standard Msddah.

  12. February 23, 2018 / 8:41 am

    This sounds like a great production, and something my kids would absolutely love to see! It’s great to get children interested in theatre at a young age, I think.

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 9:54 pm

      Yes definitely, especially when Staffordshire is so famous for its theatres and shows

  13. February 23, 2018 / 8:56 am

    What a great show! My mummy remembers reading that book when she was younger! Can’t believe they are celebrating the 36th Anniversary x

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 9:54 pm

      Yes it surprised us as well when we found out how old the book is

  14. February 23, 2018 / 11:12 am

    Ah it sounds like a great show. I remember that book from when my son was little!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 9:54 pm

      Yes and what a great book it is…and the show was even better

  15. February 23, 2018 / 2:43 pm

    Sounds like a great show, I’m sure you all love it. It’s exciting to see the characters come to life.

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 9:55 pm

      Definitely, for kids seeing the character come to life is a huge deal, they loved it

  16. February 23, 2018 / 4:17 pm

    This seems like such a great show my daughter is 7 and would love it wish we lived closer !

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 23, 2018 / 9:56 pm

      We are sure she would have loved it Claire

  17. February 23, 2018 / 7:19 pm

    I never heard of this book before but I definitely need to read it! The production seems like a lot of fun, glad you enjoyed it!

  18. February 24, 2018 / 6:31 am

    I love Dear Zoo books!! Not heard of the show though!
    I used to read these books to the kids I worked with at pre school! They’re great!


    • yeahlifestyle
      February 25, 2018 / 8:58 am

      The show is new Kelly, they have just started it and I am sure it will be doing its tours soon

  19. February 24, 2018 / 11:25 am

    This is a great idea for a family outing! I love that frog! It’s so cute! Great post!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 25, 2018 / 8:57 am

      Thanks Rikki, it was fabulous to go to and we all enjoyed it

  20. February 26, 2018 / 9:24 am

    Working in early years meant that I read this book daily (it was one of my favourites!) I had no idea it was a theatre show I feel I have missed out haha

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 26, 2018 / 10:08 am

      They have just done the first one Fern, hopefully response has been great and they will start to tour around UK x

  21. February 26, 2018 / 10:29 am

    Living for away from this place. I can’t think of show but will definitely search for the book online .

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 26, 2018 / 2:35 pm

      Hope you find it Arora

  22. February 27, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    I’d never heard of Dear Zoo but the look of the show makes me remember the childhood shows in my own country – I loved everything that taught me about nature and animals! And I’d love to take my little nephews to a theater show for a change, that sounds like lots of fun!

    • yeahlifestyle
      February 27, 2018 / 2:26 pm

      Yes it was lots of fun Evelyne

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