Borka is an opera based on the classic children’s book, written by John Burningham in 1963, and was written for ETO partly to celebrate the book’s 50th anniversary. Music, design, acting and puppetry tell the story of Borka, the goose with no feathers, who tries to fly and to swim, is abandoned by her friends, and is finally rescued and taken by boat to Kew Gardens. The story is about how being being different is not such a bad thing.


The opera is performed by 8 artists, including players, singers and puppeteers. The magical design keeps to the spirit of John Burningham’s paintings, and brings the haunting world of the book to life on stage. The piece includes interaction with the audience, and participatory songs.

Composer                   Russell Hepplewhite

Writer/Director           Tim Yealland

Designer                     Jude Munden



Photos by Robert Workman