Charity fund helps Peak District children's opera

Children from the Peak District who are taking part in a ground-breaking musical production are bidding to bag a massive cash boost froma supermarket initiative.

Thursday, 10th January 2019, 3:37 pm
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 3:39 pm
The Orphans of Koombu director Mark Burns

Three groups have been chosen to receive grants of £1,000, £2,000 or £4,000 depending on votes cast by shoppers at the Buxton and Whaley Bridge Tesco stores in the firm's Bags of Help scheme.

One of the projects is a series of workshops teaching confidence-building theatre skills and vocal development to Key Stage Three pupils from secondary schools across the Peak District.

They will then put these to the test in a professional performance of The Orphans of Koombu, an opera to be produced in July as part of Buxton International Festival.

This children's opera, written as apartheid came to an end in South Africa, foreshadowed through its theme of forgiveness the country's Truth and Reconciliation process, which calmed tensions and laid the foundations for democracy.

'Koombu was a huge success in Africa, but its theme of bringing everyone together as one family is universal,' said its director Mark Burns.

He was inspired to begin his international career in opera while taking part in a Buxton Festival youth production at the age of 12.

'Koombu will give others the chance I had to take part in a live musical show on a wonderful stage.'

Voting is open in January and February with customers casting votes using a token received at the check-out.

Alec Brown, head of community at Tesco, said: 'It's such a special scheme because it's local people who decide how the money will be spent in their community.'

The project has already delivered over £63 million to more than 20,000 projects in Britain through money raised by carrier bag sales.

To nominate a project or apply online, visit