© Stephen Gill / Night Procession 2017
© Łukasz Giza

Adapted from the novel by

Olga Tokarczuk

Directed by

Simon McBurney

Set and Costume Design

Rae Smith

Lighting Design

Paule Constable 

Sound Design

Christopher Shutt 

Video Design

Dick Straker

Dramaturgy by

Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook

Original Novel Translated by

Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Casting by

Amy Ball CDG


I see the Earth in eclipse. I see us moving about blindly in eternal Gloom, like May bugs trapped in a box by a cruel child. It’s easy to harm and injure us, to smash up our intricately assembled, bizarre existence… I see nothing but Catastrophes. But as the Fall is the beginning, can we possibly fall even lower?’ - Janina Duszejko, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Based on Nobel Prize winning author Olga Tokarczuk’s novel of the same name, Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead is a new work for theatre conceived and directed by Simon McBurney. Tokarczuk’s controversial, violent, genre defying novel – part thriller, part comedy, and part blistering poetic manifesto for the rights of animals and the environment – caused an uproar in its native Poland upon publication.

In the depths of winter in a small community on a remote Polish mountainside near the Czech-Polish border, men from the local hunting club are dying in mysterious circumstances and Janina Duszejko – an eccentric 65 year-old local woman, ex-engineer, environmentalist, amateur astronomer and enthusiastic translator of William Blake – has her suspicions. She has been watching the animals with whom the community share their isolated, rural home, and she believes they are acting strangely…

A Complicité co-production with Barbican London, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Bristol Old Vic, Holland Festival, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, L'Odéon-Théâtre de l'Europe, The Lowry, The National Theatre of Iceland, Oxford Playhouse, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen and Theatre Royal Plymouth.

Complicité thanks the Mirisch & Lebenheim Charitable Foundation for their generous support of this production. 

Complicité is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. The production is additionally funded by Backstage Trust and Maria Björnson Memorial Fund.

Ticket booking information to come soon

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is published in Great Britain by Fitzcarraldo Editions.

Image credits: Artwork © Stephen Gill / Night Procession 2017, Olga Tokarczuk © Łukasz Giza



Theatre Royal Plymouth
1-3 December (previews)
General on sale - Friday 29 July


Bristol Old Vic
19 January - 11 February

Oxford Playhouse
1 - 4 March

Barbican, London
15 March - 1 April

Nottingham Playhouse
4 - 8 April

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
18 - 22 April

The Lowry, Salford
25 - 29 April

Grand Theatre, Luxembourg
11 - 12 May
Tickets on sale here

L'Odeon, Paris
7 - 17 June
Tickets on sale here