Migrations – The writers behind the opera

20 June 2022

From best-selling authors to award-winning poets and a renowned opera director, our epic new opera, Migrations, was written by a group of talented individuals from diverse backgrounds. Let’s get to know the authors behind these thought-provoking tales.

Group of people sat at table discussing opera

Edson Burton

A man of many trades, Dr Edson Burton is an academic, a poet, as well as a writer for radio, drama, stage and screen. His academic specialisms include Race and Representation, Bristol and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (to name a few) and so his writing for Migrations offers an intriguing, educational insight. Edson is the co-author of the story Flight, Death or Fog in Migrations, which tells the tale of Pero, an Afro-Caribbean slave in 18th century Bristol. 

Miles Chambers

Working alongside Edson to write Flight, Death or Fog, is Miles Chambers. An international Performance Poet, Slam Champion, Playwright and Bristol’s first City Poet, you can be sure this man has a wonderful way with words. Miles’s poetry is exhibited across Bristol and is even carved into the metal on the walls of the oldest continuously working theatre in the English-speaking world, Bristol Old Vic.

Eric Ngalle Charles

Cameroon-born and Wales-based writer, poet and playwright Eric Ngalle Charles is one of the ‘UK’s top BAME writers’. With a unique, theatrical voice, Eric was awarded the Creative Wales Award 2017/2018 for his work on the topics of migration, trauma, and memory. This expertise has informed his writing of Birds; a section of the opera that presents migration as a natural movement that has been all around us since the beginning of time. He also sits on the board of Literature Wales.

Sir David Pountney

Former WNO Artistic Director, David Pountney has over 45 years of experience in the world of opera; from writing pioneering librettos to directing challenging works. David has worked with many of the world’s top opera companies and was awarded a knighthood for his services to opera in 2019. Not only is David directing Migrations, but he has also written the libretto to the Mayflower; a tale that follows a group of settlers who sailed to America 400 years ago.

David Pountney Colour Headshot

Shreya Sen-Handley

With an impressive roster of works, HarperCollins award-winning author Shreya Sen-Handley , regularly contributes as a columnist for The Guardian and National Geographic and teaches creative writing at the University of Cambridge. Adding to this impressive list of achievements, Migrations marks Shreya as the first South Asian woman to have written an international opera. Her section of the opera, This is the Life! is a humorous look at the treatment of Indian doctors in the NHS.

Sarah Woods

Sarah Woods is a playwright, activist and educator who believes that the arts can, and should, represent a cross section of people, reflecting communities, and allowing people to see themselves as well as other people. For Migrations, Sarah has written the libretto for Treaty 6 - a story of a community fighting to save their land against the displacement and colonisation of British migrants and The English Lesson –  the tale of a group of refugees and asylum seekers gather to learn English.

Experience the incredible stories from these six writers at Wales Millennium Centre on 29 June, 1 and 2 July, with further performances during our Autumn 2022 Season, touring across England and Wales.