Patryk Hardziej
© Łukasz Giza

Based on 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

Additional Direction

Kirsty Housley

Dramaturgy by

Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook

Movement Direction

Toby Sedgwick

Original Compositions

Richard Skelton

Assistant Director

Gemma Brockis

Associate Costume Designer

Johanna Coe

Wigs Designer

Susanna Peretz

Associate Set Designer

William Fricker 

Design Assistant

Ruth Hall 

Original Novel Translated by

Antonia Lloyd-Jones

Casting by

Amy Ball CDG

Artwork by

Patryk Hardziej


Thomas Arnold, Johannes Flaschberger, Tamzin Griffin, Amanda Hadingue, Kathryn Hunter, Kiren Kebaili-Dwyer, Weronika Maria, Tim McMullan, César Sarachu, Sophie Steer, Alexander Uzoka


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



TICKETS ARE NOW ON SALE – scroll down for performance dates and links to book


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 older local woman, ex-engineer, environmentalist, devoted astrologer 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, Comédie de Genève, 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.

A Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead resource pack for schools, containing rehearsal notes, interviews and creative tasks to support students studying devising is available to download here

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

Complicité is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Complicité thanks the Polish Cultural Institute in London, the Maria Björnson Memorial Fund and Backstage Trust for their additional funding support. 

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

Image credits: Artwork © Patryk Hardziej, Olga Tokarczuk © Łukasz Giza



Theatre Royal Plymouth
1-3 December
Tickets on sale here


Bristol Old Vic
19 January - 11 February
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Oxford Playhouse
1 - 4 March
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Barbican, London
16 March - 1 April
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Nottingham Playhouse
4 - 8 April
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Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
19 - 22 April
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The Lowry, Salford
25 - 29 April
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Ruhrfestspiele, Recklinghausen
3 - 6 May 
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Grand Theatre, Luxembourg
11 - 12 May
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10th Theatre Olympics, Budapest
16 - 17 May
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Wiener Festwochen, Vienna
22 - 26 May
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Holland Festival, Amsterdam
1 - 3 June 2023
Tickets on sale here

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