Sultans of the Street Family Activity Guide

  • Sultans of the Street Family Activity Guide
  • Sultans of the Street Family Activity Guide
  • Sultans of the Street Family Activity Guide
  • Sultans of the Street Family Activity Guide
October 14th, 2016

We are thrilled that you have decided to bring your family to Sultans of the Street!  We hope the activities and resources on this page will be helpful to you before and after your adventure to the theatre.

This guide includes a companion reading list, a kite-making craft, a recipe for pao-bhaji and a guide for reclaiming discarded items.

“GG-nominated playwright Anusree Roy is one of our country’s great storytellers. In Sultans of the Street she takes a potentially overwhelming subject — the lives of street children in another culture — and treats it with such insight, deftness, humour and respect for the fundamental dignity of young people that what we are watching feels utterly universal. Kids everywhere face serious challenges. And, like in Sultans in the Street, kids everywhere are often resilient, heroic, loving and hilarious in response.”

– Marcus Youssef, Director


Suggested Books for Further Reading

(Kindly Supplied by the Children’s Library of the Vancouver Public Library)

These are thought-provoking stories about finding the courage and inventiveness to navigate through challenges such as war, poverty and homelessness.

The Conch Bearer/ Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
12-year-old Anand, living in a poor neighborhood of Kolkata, is entrusted with a conch shell with mystical powers. His task is to return the shell to its rightful home in the Himalayan Mountains. Along with a mysterious stranger and a feisty girl, they set off on a perilous quest encountering both good and evil.

Hope is a Girl Selling Fruit/ Amrita Das
This is an emotional and reflective journey of the experiences of three young Indian women. It touches on the differences between idealized images of childhood and womanhood and the realities of it, especially for those living in poverty.

Boys Without Names/ Kashmira Sheth
Gopal’s family flees to the city of Mumbai to escape starvation only to find hardship everywhere. Only 11, Gopal is enslaved in a factory with other boys given no money and little food. Through storytelling, Gopal helps the boys to hold on to their sense of self and hope for any kind of future.

Tiger Boy/ Mitali Perkins
This is a quiet and gripping tale set in Bengal that emphasizes the deep but often fragile connection that exists between humans and nature. This suspense filled adventure also speaks to the complexities of corruption, climate change, poverty, and gender discrimination.

Younguncle Comes to Town/ Vandana Singh
A delightful story set in Northern India about Young uncle who arrives with his humorous, eccentric and mischievous stories and brings adventure and excitement in the midst of mundane life.

Ticket to India/ N. H. Senzai
Maya and her sister Zara learn about their heritage when they travel to Pakistan and India. Maya is separated from her sister but bravely continues on a quest to get a precious relic for her aging grandmother.

Pablo Finds a Treasure/ Andrée Poulin
Pablo and Sofia spend their days digging through a mountain of garbage to find enough recyclable material to sell for food. One day, Pablo finds something else. His resilience in the face of terrible hardship is unforgettable.

Four Feet, Two Sandals/ Karen Lynn Williams & Khadra Mohammed
This is a wonderful story of two Afghani girls living in a Pakistan refugee camp.  When relief workers bring a pair of sandals to the camp, the two girls are brought together in a way that shows the true meaning of friendship and sacrifice.


Kite Festival 

January 14th is the festival of Uttarayan (also called Makar Sankranti), which celebrates the day when the sun starts to travel northward, marking the decline of winter. The holiday is widely celebrated throughout India with kite flying festivals. A large International Kite Festival takes place in the city of Ahmedabad, Gujarat in western India. The video below gives a rich and extensive view of the festival:

The kite festivals include competitions for design and beauty, but also to see which kites can last the longest and go the highest. Some competitors even coat the strings of their kites with a glue containing ground glass, so that the strings can cut down other kites in the air. This article contains information and images about the markets and kite festival

Enjoy these videos and photographs showing the city during the kite festival.

Try making your own kites at home and see whose can stay the longest in the air, achieve the highest flight, or incorporate the most colourful design. Click here to make your own kites at home.


The Street Food of India

bhajiIndia has a vibrant culture of street food, with vendors preparing all manner of meals and snacks from portable stands. In Sultans of the Street, the children interact with a street food vendor, the Pao-Bhaji Wallah, who is really a 700 year-old wise man. He serves Pao-Bhaji (also sometimes called Pav Bhaji), a vegetable stew served on toasted, buttered rolls. Each order is prepared to the taste of the customer, who can choose how toasted the roll should be, how much butter should be spread, and whether to add tomato, onion, lime, mango powder, and other seasonings.

Try making Pao-Bhaji at home with this recipe


Reclaimed Trash to Treasure

The children in Sultans of the Street, like many people living with very limited means, use discarded and found items to create the costumes they wear as beggars dressed as gods. See a collection of images selected by director Marcus Youssef showing inspiration for the design of the show.

Many acclaimed artists have worked in recycled materials to make striking works of art. See some examples here.

Making art with recycled materials not only uses great creativity, but it encourages reuse and repurposing of materials that might otherwise be thrown away.

Click here to turn trash into treasure with this simple reclamation craft!

If your children would like to tell us what they thought of the show, please mail us letters and pictures – we love to receive mail! For our contact information please visit the last page of this guide.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please give us a call at 604.669.3410 or email us at

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