Aladdin panto stars Joe McElderry and Lucy Kay enjoyed some free time meeting the animals at Dudley Zoological Gardens (DZG). The musical pair who are currently appearing in ALADDIN had a fun morning touring the zoo site and feeding some of the animals alongside dancer Katrina Ridley, before they headed back for the matinee performance. Joe and Lucy, who play Aladdin and Princess Jasmine in Wolverhampton’s biggest ever pantomime, helped keepers to feed some of the zoo’s resident animals. Joe and Lucy won the affections of the Giraffes and in particular, the Lemurs, who as diurnal nimble climbers were particularly friendly – leaping from shoulder to shoulder. They also got to visit the zoo’s 85 penguins, the meerkats and tour the Reptile House.

DZG is sponsoring this season’s pantomime and in December hosted the dress rehearsal performance where they invited local clubs, children’s centres and organisations who have supported the zoo over the past 12 months to join as VIP guests.

Wolverhampton Grand Theatre and Dudley Zoological Gardens are delighted to be teaming up again this Christmas for the family pantomime, which has already been announced as JACK AND THE BEANSTALK – and tickets are on sale now!

DZG Media and Communications Officer, Rachel Hickman, said: “Joe, Lucy and Katrina were keen to learn more about our animals and our work at the zoo, so we were delighted to show them round and we also organised a special meet and greet for them to feed our giraffes and ring-tailed lemurs.”

Grand Theatre Press & PR Manager, Scott Bird, said: “It was a lot of fun touring the zoo with the cast of Aladdin. Both our pantomime and the zoo offer families the opportunity to spend quality time together. Having celebrated the theatre’s full refurbishment in 2016 and with Dudley Zoo’s upcoming 80th birthday this year there are plenty of exciting reasons to families to visit both.”