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Commissioned by: Priory 900 from Wingbeats

Composed by: Cheryl Frances-Hoad

Libretto by: Adam Strickson

Bridlington Priory 2013


Sailing to the Marvellous is a dramatic cantata for choirs, instrumentalists and child actors produced by Wingbeats
who created the operas Flight Paths and Amy's Last Dive, the East Riding's official contribution

to the Cultural Olympiad.


This powerful, contemporary cantata tells the story of Runa, a young Christian woman from Iraq who flees persecution. She meets a group of children who have escaped from the wars of Africa. Together, they travel to England in an old fishing boat. Eventually they reach Bridlington where, like many before them, Runa and the children seek sanctuary.


The work is in sixteen sections, each marking a point on a spiritual journey, from birth to death and resurrection. As well as English, the libretto includes sections in Kurdish and Latin, referring to the contemporary experience of refugees in Yorkshire and to worship traditions of the Priory in past centuries. Descriptions of heaven collected from Bridlington children are included in the adult chorus.

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