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Off West End Performance Press Release

First Look: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

In preparation for the world premiere of their new work, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, award-winning, international touring company Complicité (The Encounter, Can I Live?) has released the rehearsal images.

Update: I have watched the show in march 2023 in the barbican in london. Read my review here (click)

The show is created by the Artistic Director and Co-Founder Simon McBurney. The piece is based on Nobel Prize-Winner Olga Tokarczuk’s genre-defying novel of the same name.

Photos by Camilla Adams:

What is “Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead” about?

The story begins in the depths of winter in a small community on a remote mountainside, as men from the local hunting club begin to die in mysterious circumstances. Janina Duszejko has her suspicions. She has been watching the animals with whom the community shares their isolated, rural home, and she believes they are acting strangely…

A philosophical and poetic murder mystery, “Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead” is a rallying cry for nature and a love-letter to the poetry of Blake. At its heart it is a playful and profound work that asks us to consider what it means to live in harmony with the world around us, our place in the ecosystem, and the perilous consequences we all face if our connection to the natural world is lost. 

Janina, seen by the locals as an eccentric outsider, tells the story from her own point of view, which veers between comedic and macabre. Throughout her actions, she challenges the patriarchal world that surrounds her, as well as our deeper human intentions and the value we place on animals’ lives in comparison to our own.

Supported by a pan-European network of co-producers, the production begins at Theatre Royal Plymouth (1-3 December 2022) followed by a 3-week run at Bristol Old Vic (19 Jan – 11 Feb), and dates at Oxford Playhouse (1-4 March) ahead of a national opening – 20 March – at the Barbican, London (15 March – 1 April). The production will then tour throughout 2023 with further UK dates at Nottingham Playhouse (4-8 April), Belgrade Theatre Coventry (19-22 April) and The Lowry (25-29 April) before international dates in May and June 2023 including Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, and L’Odéon-Théâtre de l’Europe, Paris. Tour dates in England are now on sale (


Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Based on the novel by Olga Tokarczuk

Directed by Simon McBurney

Set and Costume Design by Rae Smith

Lighting Design by Paule Constable 

Sound Design by Christopher Shutt 

Video Design by Dick Straker

Additional Direction by Kirsty Housley

Dramaturgy by Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook

Design Assistant William Fricker

Lighting Associate  Lucía Sánchez Roldán

Sound Associate Ella Walhstrӧm.

Translation of the novel into English by Antonia Lloyd-Jones


Thomas Arnold

Johannes Flaschberger

Amanda Hadingue

Kathryn Hunter

Kiren Kebaili-Dwyer

Weronika Maria

Tim McMullan

César Sarachu

Sophie Steer

Alexander Uzoka

Zuzanna Chmielewska

Digital Marketer by profession, published travel book author, avid theatre goer and an amateur Malaysia tour guide in my free time. Find me in one of London's theatres, travelling in Asia or cooking and photographing new recipes in my kitchen. I would try anything once (at least!). My theatre blog:



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