About Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead

Barbican Theatre, London
Booking to 1 April 2023
No longer booking

World-renowned company Complicité return to the Barbican with a brand-new production based on Nobel prize-winning writer Olga Tokarczuk’s darkly comic novel.

A thought-provoking, wry and otherworldly murder mystery, this is a tale about the cosmos, poetry, and the limitations and possibilities of activism.

Olga 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.

Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead is a new work for theatre conceived and directed by Simon McBurney.

Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead runs from 15 March 2023 until 1 April 2023 at the Barbican Centre, London.

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Show Information

Performance dates
Booking to 1 April 2023
Age restrictions
Running time
3 hours (including interval)

What's the story of Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead?

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…

Who is in the cast of Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead?

The cast features Thomas Arnold, Johannes Flaschberger, Amanda Hadingue, Kathryn Hunter, Kiren Kebaili-Dwyer, Weronika Maria, Tim McMullan, CĂ©sar Sarachu, Sophie Steer and Alexander Uzoka.

Who are the creative team of Drive Your Plow over the Bones of the Dead?

Based on the novel by Olga Tokarczuk.

Directed by Simon McBurney with set and costume design by Rae Smith, lighting design Paule Constable, sound design Christopher Shutt, video design by Dick Straker, additional direction by Kirsty Housley. Assistant Director is Gemma Brockis, dramaturgy by Sian Ejiwunmi-LeBerre and Laurence Cook, with the original novel translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Casting is by Amy Ball CDG. Key artwork designed by Patryk Hardziej.

Important Notes

Post-show talk, Wed 22 Mar
A discussion on the limits and ethics of activism. Free to same-day ticket holders
Post-matinee talk, Thu 23 Mar, 2.30pm
Q&A with the cast and creative team. Free to same day ticket holders
Captioned performance
Sat 25 Mar, 2.30pm
Polish-surtitled performance
Tue 28 Mar, 7.45pm
Audio-described performance and Touch Tour
Thu 30 Mar, 7.45pm

Venue Information

Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
Nearest Tube or Train: Barbican (Metropolitan, Circle, Hammersmith & City)
Nearest Buses: (Beech Street) 76, 153; (City Road) 21, 43, 141, 205, 214, 271

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