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The Owl & the Pussycat


In a pea-green boat, an owl and a pussycat sail across the sea for a year and a day to where the Bong-tree grows. Adventure calls, new encounters await and love conquers all in a nostalgic journey and irresistible blend of romance and nonsense. 

The Owl and the Pussycat is an enchanting and intimate one-act children’s opera, scored for three amplified singers, three instrumentalists and a fixed electronic track. It is based on the nonsense poem by the English poet Edward Lear, with an original story by Kathryn Marquet. This charming children’s work melds live performance, operatic vocals, chamber music and experiential theatre inside a giant green boat. Created specifically for children 4-10 years, this interactive journey inspires, educates and enthrals by inviting children, alongside their families, carers and teachers, to help our loveable couple reach their destination. 

The work was produced by Little Match Productions and included a national collaboration of female artists and arts professionals, including Penny Challen (Opera Q Project Puccini), Alicia Cush (Opera Q, Circa), Kathryn Marquet (La Boite, QTC, Pale Blue Dot), Bridget Boyle (debase productions) and Lisa Cheney (Making Waves, MSO, TSO), has created a landmark musical work for children that encourages imaginative thought, uses tactile learning, and explores the universal themes of love, harmony and acceptance.

The Owl & The Pussycat premiered on Surfers Paradise beach as part of Festival 2018. 

Singers: Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano, Musical Theatre Baritone

Instrumentalists/puffins (on stage): Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Percussion (incl. vibes) and Cello.




Nominated for 4 Matilda Awards, including Best Composition and Best Actress   
WINNER  - Best Supporting Actor  - Jackson McGovern   
WINNER - Best Costume Design - Penny Challen

“…humour and quirkiness to perfection.” Cut Common


“…this adaptation managed to modernize it with a coherent and engaging story while keeping the character of the original” Cut Common


“…a creative gem of homegrown talent” Stage Whispers


“The children were enraptured…” Weekend Notes Brisbane

“…fun and seriously entertaining.” Absolute Theatre

Read more about the creative and production process in Lisa's article for The Australian Music Centre.


Writer Kathryn Marquet

Composer Lisa Cheney

Director Bridget Boyle

Designer Penny Challen

Lighting Designer Geoff Squires

Musical Director Luke Volker

Creative Producer Alicia Cush

Dramaturg Jane Bodie

Owl Laura Coutts, Pia Frangiosa, Sarah Murr, Natasha Veselinovic

Pussycat Meg Hamilton, Irena Lysiuk

Moon & Other Characters Jackson McGovern

Musicians/Puffins Daniel Byrne, Ely Streatfeild & Cameron Kennedy (Rebecca Lloyd-Jones, Kathryn McKee, Jarrad Linke, Andrew Chamberlain, David Freisberg & Danielle Bentley) 

Concept by Alicia Cush & Penny Challen

First produced and toured with Little Match Productions 2018-2021

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