Malika, Queen of the Cats

Book Your 2014-2015 School Performance now – limited availability!

For pricing and technical details, call Deborah Browne at 503-248-0557 x102 or email

Click here to download a Teacher Resource Guide for Malika, Queen of the Cats

About the Production

Touring to:
Washington (except Tri Cities)
Idaho (Kootenai County)
Portland Metro

Some years ago in Palestine lived a kind and generous woman called Sitti. One day, Sitti rescued a kitten from a tree, who then introduced her to a group of talented, talking cats who lived in a cave outside the village. Malika, the queen of the cats, rewarded Sitti’s good deed with bags of onion skins and garlic skins, which magically became bags of gold and silver. But when Sitti’s selfish neighbor, Um Yusef, demanded the same gifts of Malika, things didn’t turn out quite as she expected. This exciting play uses a traditional Palestinian fairy tale to introduce students to Middle Eastern culture and the power of giving to others.

Malika, Queen of the Cats is performed using rod puppets. The puppeteers will be sitting on stools and operating puppets held above their heads. The puppeteers will not be seen. There will also be some shadow puppets used in the cave of the cats.

Malika, Queen of the Cats is designed to engage and captivate students of all grade levels. 

About this Story

Our play is based on the book Sitti and the Cats written by Sally Bahous who grew up in Palestine. The book was copyright in 1993 by Sally Bahous and published by Roberts
Rinehart Publishers, in Boulder, CO.

From Sitti and the Cats by Sally Bahous:

“Palestinian fairy tales appear designed to teach children as well as to entertain them. These fairy tales dwell on what is socially accepted and necessary for village life. Sharing with neighbors is almost a necessity in small villages for the survival of all, as is friendliness. Good is defined as putting the good of the community and others before self. Evil is often defined as selfishness. Reality is often harsh and to soften that reality, there is a “what if” element of make believe. The magic always works for good, for the betterment of some character that deserves a better life.”

This tale takes place hundreds of years ago when Palestine was part of a large empire. The current boundaries in the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia) did not occur until after World War I when the empire of the Ottoman Turks was divided into individual countries. Since 1948, much of the land of Palestine has become part of the State of Israel. Palestinian people speak Arabic. Some Palestinian people are Christians and others are Muslims (following the religion of Islam).

Cats are important creatures in Islamic culture. According to one story, Muhammad, the founder of the religion of Islam, was so fond of cats that when one fell asleep on the sleeve of his shirt, he cut off the sleeve rather than wake the cat.

Technical Specifications
Space: 20 x 20 x 12
Load in time: 1 hour (using our lights and sound)
3 hours (using your lights, sound and tech)
Performance time: 1 hour
Load out time: 1 hour

This production is guaranteed to delight your students of all grades. Your students will:

  • Enjoy the magic of world-class live puppetry.
  • Discover the rich cultures and perspectives of the Middle East, including original music, costume and dance.
  • Learn the importance of generosity, community and responsibility.

Photos by Jen Peck

Touring of Malika, Queen of the Cats is made possible in part through the generosity of:


Templeton Foundation

Hillsboro Arts and Cultural Council

Multnomah County Cultural Coalition

Hillsboro Arts and Cultural Council


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