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‘The Bone Sparrow’ is heading out on tour

York Theatre, will next year stage the world premiere of award-winning Australian playwright S. Shakthidharan’s The Bone Sparrow

Following their critically acclaimed productions of Noughts & Crosses and Crongton Knights, Pilot Theatre, in co-production with York Theatre, will next year stage the world premiere of award-winning Australian playwright S. Shakthidharan’s adaptation of The Bone SparrowZana Fraillon’s beautiful, vivid, and deeply moving story about a Rohingya refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre in Australia.

Directed by Pilot Theatre’s Artistic Director Esther Richardson (Noughts & Crosses and Brighton Rock), the new adaptation will premiere at York Theatre Royal from 25 February – 5 March 2022 before embarking on a national tour.

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention centre after his mother fled the violence of a distant homeland, life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But as he grows, his imagination gets bigger too, until it is bursting at the limits of his world.

One night, Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl appears from the other side of the wires, and brings a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it, she relies on Subhi to unravel her own family’s mysterious and moving history.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find a way to freedom, as their tales unfold. But not until each of them has been braver than ever before.

Australian novelist Zana Fraillon is an internationally acclaimed multi-award-winning author of books for Children and young-adults. Zana Fraillon’s work has been published in fifteen countries and is in development for both screen and stage. The Bone Sparrow won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children, the Readings Young Adult Book Prize, and the Amnesty CILIP Honour. The book was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the Queensland Literary Awards in Australia, the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, the Gold Inky and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. Her other novels include The Lost Soul Atlas (2020), which won the 2020 Aurealis Award for Best Children’s Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2021 Children’s Book Council Award for Book of the Year.

Shakthidharanis an Australian writer, producer, composer and director for screen and stage of Sri Lankan heritage and Tamil ancestry. His debut play,Counting and Cracking was co-produced by Belvoir St Theatre company and Co-Curious and is a 3-hour epic. It had a sell-out season at Sydney Festival 2019, with rave reviews and a profound impact on the Sri Lankan community. The script won the Victorian Premier’s overall Literature Prize and the NSW Premier’s Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting. The production went on to win 7 Helpmann Awards including two for Shakthi – Best New Australian Work and Best Direction of a Play and the Sydney Theatre Award for Best New Australian Work.


25 February – 5 March 2022 –York Theatre Royal

Box Office: 01904 623568 /


8-12 March – Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

Box Office: 01325 701521 /

15-19 March -Derby Theatre

Box Office: 01332 593939 /

22-26 March Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

Box Office: 02476553055 /

29 March – 2 April -Mercury Theatre Colchester

Box Office: 01206 573948 /