Young Family Panto: Dear Santa Live at Riverside Studios

Last weekend I went to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith to watch Dear Santa Live, a Christmas Panto aimed at young families, with two lovely school girls who had a great time.  After months of lockdown, we have all been craving the return of live performance and were happy to get out to the theatre. Dear Santa Live is a great way to be part of a live audience (safely) after a year spent in isolation. 

Dear Santa Live is the first production of the Riverside Studios 2020 Christmas season. Norwell Lapley Productions’ stage adaptation of Rod Campbell’s family-favourite and much-loved picture book. Dear Santa Live, directed by Tim Wallers runs until 24 December 2020. At the end of the show, children can say hallo to Santa (at a socially distanced grotto appearance) and receive a Christmas themed gift bag.

The season at Riverside Studios includes a dazzling array of live cabaret, comedy, music and theatre that run throughout December.

The story 

Santa is determined to deliver the most fantastic Christmas present to Sarah, but he doesn’t get it right straight away! With the help of his cheeky Elf, he finally settles on something ‘perfect’, just in time for Christmas Eve. 


Who hasn’t read Rod Campbell‘s books to their kids. He is a brilliant Scottish writer and illustrator of children’s books. Best known for his classic lift-the-flap title Dear Zoo, which has sold over 2 million copies worldwide, he is also the creator of the much-loved preschool character Buster. His credits include ABC Zoo, Oh Dear!, It’s Mine!, I’m Hungry!, I Won’t Bite!, Baby’s Busy Book, My Presents, Noisy Farm, Farm Babies, Here’s Buster, But Where’s Teddy and Buster Gets Dressed.

Dear Santa Live is recommended for audiences between 2 and 6 years old.

The verdict

Lilly (9) sent her hand-written verdict on the show aimed at families with toddlers, pre-schoolers and school children up to the age of 6. 

Here is 9 year old Alice’s verdict on the show. Children are such good reviewer. They are so genuine and always 200% honest. 


I can confirm that social distancing measures are in operation at Riverside Studios, with audiences being seated in households. All patrons, unless they have a known medical condition, will be required to wear a face covering at the venue. In case of cancellation, Riverside Studios offers tickets holders a full refund. For full details on the measures implemented to ensure audience safety and wellbeing, please visit:

Booking details:

Riverside Studios, 101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith, London W6 9BN

3 December – 24 December at 11am

5,6,12,13, 17 – 24 December at 11am and 1pm

Box Office: 020 8237 1010 /

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