The Orphans of Koombu

Fri 12 - Sat 20 July 2019

Allan Stephenson (b.1949)

A Buxton International Festival production, with schools from the High Peak and Derbyshire.

Oppression, uprising, euphoria and a new world order. In such uncertain times, never has it been more important to listen to the next generation and encourage them to raise their voices to be heard.

Based on The Secret Song written by award-winning author Michael Williams, this African chamber opera features singers from the Festival Company and 200 young people from seven different secondary schools in Derbyshire and the High Peak. First performed by Cape Town Opera to communities throughout South Africa, The Orphans of Koombu combines opera, musical theatre and African harmonies in a work about oppression and freedom.

Three travellers, Sticks, Sophia and Silas set out on journey to the mysterious town of Koombu. They meet a group of young people digging holes, who run from them in terror. Sticks discovers that the townsfolk are hiding a dark secret which threatens to destroy the town. The land responds to this betrayal of its youth by drying the rivers and springs. Can the three travellers inspire the orphans and bring harmony and healing to an artificially fractured society?

Public booking opens 1 April 2019.

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Creatives and cast

Tom Newall

Mark Burns

Michael Williams
Book & lyrics

Kitty Callister


Daniella Sicari

Fiona Finsbury

Edward Robinson

Participating schools

Anthony Gell School, Wirksworth
Buxton Community School
Tinderbox Performing Arts Centre
Hope Valley College
New Mills School
St Philip Howard Catholic Voluntary Academy, Glossop
St Thomas More Catholic School, Buxton

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