International touring company Complicité presents a new work for the theatre, directed by Simon McBurney and based on Nobel Prize-winning author Olga Tokarczuk’s novel of the same name.

It all 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. Janina Duszejko – ex-engineer, environmentalist, devoted astrologer 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…

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

What does it mean to be human and what does it mean to be animal, and can we separate the two? Why is the killing of animals sport and that of humans murder?



“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. Tokarczuk is a prophet for our times who understands us in all our hilarity, messiness, cruelty and animalism, and it is a great privilege to bring to the stage what is surely one of literature’s most urgent accounts of being alive today.”
Complicité Artistic Director, Simon McBurney

“‘an almighty and toweringly innovative adaptation”
5 rating
The Guardian
“‘a mesmerising cosmic trip’”
4 rating
The Stage
“This is a beguiling, imaginative piece of theatre”
4 rating
Financial Times

School Bookings

Show tickets for school pupils are £12.50 each (one teacher goes free with every 10 tickets purchased).

Find out more about School Visits here and book by calling our Box Office on 0115 941 9419.


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


Director 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 Sian Ejiwunmi-Le Berre and Laurence Cook
Movement Direction Toby Sedgwick
Movement Director Toby Sedgwick
Original Compositions Richard Skelton
Assistant Director Gemma Brockis
Associate Costume Designer Johanna Coe
Wigs Designer Susanna Peretz
Original novel translator Antonia Lloyd-Jones
CDG Casting Amy Ball



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.

Artwork by Patryk Hardziej