Borka the goose with no feathers

Borka is one of the most well-known and loved of all children’s books. Written by John Burningham in 1963, this new opera for children aged 3–7 celebrated the book’s 50th anniversary. Borka toured the country throughout 2014 giving tiny children a great way in to what is often considered an adult-only artform. And they loved it!

 

"I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was the best thing I have ever seen."

 RUBY, 6

 

"When I saw the opera, it nearly made me faint with joy."

THOMAS, 7

It was important to Tim Yealland (Director and Librettist) and myself that we were very true to the book, both in Tim's interpretation of the words and story, and in the visual manifestation of what is, after all, a picture book. Borka was one of my favourite books when I was little, and I had enjoyed it again through all my children as well. I adore John Burningham's illustrations and it was an absolute pleasure to bring them to the stage in three dimensions. John was very easy to work with and came to see the production when it opened at, of course, Kew Gardens.

Borka and Fletcher in rehearsal
Borka and Fletcher in rehearsal
All aboard!
All aboard!
Borka meets the audience
Borka meets the audience
In the workshop
In the workshop
The scrolling sky
The scrolling sky
From sunset to morning, 46m!
From sunset to morning, 46m!
Test flight
Test flight
No feathers ...
No feathers ...
Borka hatching
Borka hatching
1/4
Reviews of Borka

As well as great feedback from the children, parents and teachers who saw the production, we had some lovely professional reviews as well. Notably for me, from Robert Hugill, composer and blogger who seemed to really appreciate how important I had felt it was to give children this young a touchable and crafted piece of work that was not overly reliant on digital imagery. You can read his review here: 

Here's a clip of the first rehearsal of the chicks hatching, always a favourite scene of the piece with the young audiences:

Here is a 'proper' video taken during one of the schools performances: