A monster zoo on tour

Published: 14 August 2017
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Monster Zoo Credit: Sara Ogilvie
Monster Zoo Credit: Sara Ogilvie

New Writing North is to tour Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo, a play for the under-7s adapted by Stacey Sampson from the picture book written by Amy Sparkes and illustrated by Sara Ogilvie, from 23 September to 29 October around Co Durham, Tyne and Wear, Northumberland, Cumbria (schools only), Manchester, Leeds and Wakefield.

Do Not Enter The Monster Zoo is the final production in a series of three, which NWN has produced and toured annually from October 2015 to October 2017 for the Durham Book Festival, funded by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Programme. The previous two productions were Man on the Moon (2015) and Hey Presto! (2016). Prior to that, NWN had produced and toured The Worst Princess in 2014.

The project aims to provide opportunities for people to experience high quality literature and performing arts in their local communities and to sustain arts activity in those communities. Largely, the show has returned to the same venues over the three years, so local audiences have come to expect them and we have been able to build relationships with venue managers, supporting them to programme more arts activity in their communities.

The hero of the story has received an invitation to run a zoo for a day. But this isn’t just any zoo; this zoo seems rather odd and the keeper is in a great hurry to leave for his holiday. This zoo is a mess and the creatures are all misbehaving. This zoo is a Monster Zoo.

Can these naughty creatures ever learn to mind their manners? The play asks the audience to help our young hero take on a Monster Zoo full of weird and wonderful creatures.

The company is Callum Howard, Joe Johnston, Rachel Gay and Zoe Lambert, and the production is again directed by Ruth Johnson. Designer is Andy Stephenson.

The production will visit:

County Durham

  • Saturday 23 September, 10AM
    Waterhouses Community Centre, DH7 9AS

  • Saturday 23 September, 2:30PM
    Peterlee Library, SR8 1NT

  • Saturday 30 September, 10:30AM
    East Durham Creates presents a performance at Shotton Community Centre, DH6 2PQ

  • Saturday 30 September, 2:30PM
    Chester-le-Street Library, DH3 3BP

  • Wednesday 4 October, 10AM
    Bishop Auckland Town Hall, DL14 7NP

  • Wednesday 4 October, 1:45PM
    Crook Library, DL15 9ES

  • Thursday 5 October, 2PM
    Jubilee Hall, West Rainton, DH4 6NU

  • Saturday 7 October, 10AM
    Tanfield Lea Community Centre, DH9 9LZ

  • Saturday 7 October, 2:30PM
    Seaham Library, SR7 7JE

  • Sunday 8 October, 10:30AM
    Gala Theatre Studio, DH1 1WA

  • Sunday 8 October, 2:30PM
    Tow Law Community Centre, DL13 4AW

  • Saturday 14 October, 10:30AM
    Crown Street Library, Darlington, DL1 1ND

  • Saturday 14 October, 2:30PM
    Locomotion: The NRM at Shildon, DL4 2RE

  • Sunday 15 October, 10:30AM
    Dipton Community Centre, DH9 9DR

  • Sunday 15 October, 3PM
    East Durham Creates presents a performance at Trimdon Station Community Centre, TS29 6BS

  • Wednesday 25 October, 10AM
    Greenhills Centre, Wheatley Hill, DH6 3JS

  • Wednesday 25 October, 2PM
    East Durham Creates presents a performance at Horden Youth & Community Centre, SR8 4LH

  • Friday 27 October, 2PM
    East Durham Creates presents a performance at Blackhall Community Centre, TS27 4LG

  • Saturday 28 October, 10AM
    Pelton Community Centre, DH2 1DE

  • Saturday 28 October, 2:30PM
    Newton Aycliffe Library, DL5 4EH

Tyne and Wear and Northumberland

  • Sunday 24 September, 11AM
    Byker Community Centre, NE6 2DX

  • Sunday 1 October, 11AM & 2PM
    Sage Gateshead, NE8 2JR

  • Monday 16 October, 10AM
    Haltwhistle Library, NE49 0AX

  • Tuesday 17 October, 2PM
    Newcastle City Library, NE1 8AX

  • Thursday 19 October, 10AM
    Cramlington Library at Concordia Leisure Centre, NE23 6YB

  • Thursday 19 October, 1:45PM
    Ashington Leisure Centre & Library, NE63 9JY

  • Saturday 21 October, 10AM
    The Cultural Spring presents a performance at Back on the Map Hendon, Sunderland SR2 8JG

  • Saturday 21 October, 2PM
    The Cultural Spring presents a performance at St. Oswald’s Communicare, Grindon, Sunderland SR4 9QZ

  • Sunday 22 October, 2PM
    The Exchange, North Shields, NE30 1SE

  • Sunday 29 October, 11:30AM
    The Word: National Centre for the Written Word, South Shields NE33 1JF


In partnership with Manchester Literature Festival

  • Tuesday 10 October, 11:30AM & 2:15PM
    Beswick Library, M11 3DS

  • Wednesday 11 October, 11AM & 2PM
    The Factory Youth Zone, M9 8AE

In both cases tickets are free to local schools and families. For details please e-mail [email protected]


  • Thursday 12 October, 2PM
    The Compton Centre, Leeds, LS9 7BG

  • Thursday 26 October, 11:30AM & 2:30PM
    Airedale Library, Wakefield WF10 3JJ

*Some links, including Amazon, Stageplays.com, Bookshop.org, ATG Tickets, LOVEtheatre, BTG Tickets, Ticketmaster, The Ticket Factory, LW Theatres and QuayTickets, are affiliate links for which BTG may earn a small fee at no extra cost to the purchaser.

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