Buxton International Festival

The Orphans of Koombu

Allan Stephenson (b.1949)Buxton Opera Housebutton--dates-and-timesDates & Times

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?

Daniella Sicari Sticks

Fiona Finsbury Sofia

Edward Robinson Silas


Michael Williams Book and lyrics

Tom Newall Conductor

Mark Burns Director

Kitty Callister Designer

Participating schools

Friday 12 JulyAnthony Gell School, Wirksworth
Saturday 13 JulySt Philip Howard Catholic Voluntary Academy, Glossop
Monday 15 JulyHope Valley College / St Thomas More Catholic School, Buxton,
Tuesday 16 JulySt Thomas More Catholic School, Buxton / Hope Valley College
Wednesday 17 JulyBuxton Community School
Friday 19 JulyNew Mills School
Saturday 20 JulyTinderbox Performing Arts

Thanks to the Koombu Syndicate and:

LG Harris Trust
Derbyshire Music Hub
Devonshire Educational Trust
Andre Bernheim Charitable Trust 
D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust
Derbyshire County Council
Action Grants
Tesco Bags of Help

  • Duration: 1hr 30mins
  • Price: Adults £10, Children £5



Family: £25 (2 adults & 2 children)