Wednesday 6 December 2023
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Complicite’s Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead comes to Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse welcomes world-renowned touring company Complicité with its new work for the theatre, ‘Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead’ from Tuesday 4 – Saturday 8 April 2023.

Directed by Simon McBurney and featuring acclaimed actor Kathryn Hunter, it is based on Nobel Prize-winning polish author Olga Tokarczuk’s novel of the same name. It is billed as “nothing short of sensational” (Bristol 24/7) and visits Nottingham Playhouse as part of an international tour. 

Olga Tokarczuk’s “marvelously weird and fablelike mystery” (The New York Times) is a whodunnit unlike any other and was controversial when first published in 2009. A rallying cry for nature, it explosively exposes the hypocrisy of institutional power.

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Drive Your Plow’s story begins in the depths of winter in a small community on a remote 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 shares their isolated, rural home, and she believes they are acting strangely …

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At its heart, the story asks us to consider what it means to live in harmony with the world around us, humankind’s place in our ecosystem, and the perilous consequences we all face if our connection to the natural world is lost. 


Chief Executive of Nottingham Playhouse, Stephanie Sirr said: 


“I have been a huge fan of Complicité for many years. They are an incredibly innovative and exciting theatre company devising their brilliant work as it tours, so it’s a living thing. People won’t have seen anything quite like this.”


An in-depth free, online resource pack for schools and community groups has also been made available.


Complicité is an international touring theatre company in a constant state of reinvention. Working across art forms, the company believes that theatre, opera, film, installation, publication and participatory arts can all be sites for the collective act of imagination. Recent work includes Beware of PityThe Encounter, The Master and MargaritaShun-kin and A Disappearing Number. Complicité is a founding member of the Culture Declares Emergency initiative and is led by director Simon McBurney, in collaboration with Executive Director Amber Massie-Blomfield and Senior Producer Tim Bell, as well as a wide circle of associates.


Complicité began life as a collective and this spirit of collective enquiry and collaborative curiosity has driven the work throughout its history. The Company is famous for making its work through extensive periods of research and development which brings together performers, designers, writers, artists and specialists from diverse fields to create the works – a process now known simply as ‘devising’. 


Kathryn Hunter, American-born British actor and theatre director, (known for her appearances as Arabella Figg in the Harry Potter film series, and as the Three Witches in Joe Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth) is renowned for her physical theatre, having been described as a “virtuoso physical performer” and leads the cast. 

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Adapted from 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

Dramaturgy by Sian Ejiwumi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook

Nottingham Playhouse Trust Ltd relies on ticket sales for 75% of its income and continues to fundraise through its Curtain Up appeal. It is a registered charity (no. 1109342). 

For more information about Nottingham Playhouse visit  

Box Office Information:

Nottingham Playhouse

Box office 0115 941 9419


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