Belgrade and Complicité to adapt controversial novel

Published: 14 July 2022
Reporter: Steve Orme

Simon McBurney who has conceived and will direct Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead Credit: Jorri Kristjánsson

Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre and international touring company Complicité are to stage the world première of Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, an adaptation of Nobel Prize-winning author Olga Tokarczuk’s novel of the same name.

Complicité’s artistic director Simon McBurney has conceived and will direct this new work. 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 “uproar” in its native Poland when it was published.

McBurney said, “Olga Tokarczuk has created an extraordinary world that speaks to my deepest sense of the continuity between humankind and nature—a world where, like a mycelium web, all entities are connected deeply at the roots, unable to exist alone.

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is a tale about the cosmos, poetry and the limitations and possibilities of activism.”

The production will tour to the Theatre Royal Plymouth from 1 until 3 December, Bristol Old Vic from 19 January until 11 February 2023, Oxford Playhouse from 1 until 4 March, London’s Barbican from 15 March until 1 April, Nottingham Playhouse from 4 until 8 April, Coventry’s Belgrade from 18 until 22 April, The Lowry, Salford from 25 until 29 April, Grand Theatre, Luxembourg from 10 until 12 May, Theatre Amsterdam from 1 until 3 June and L'Odeon Paris from 7 until 17 June.