Pilot Theatre to present world premiere stage adaptation of The Bone Sparrow

The Bone Sparrow pilot theatre

Pilot Theatre is to present the world premiere of a new stage adaptation of Zana Fraillon’s award winning novel The Bone Sparrow.

Adapted by award-winning Australian playwright S. Shakthidharan, the production is directed by Esther Richardson with design by Miriam Nabarro and music and sound from Arun Ghosh.


The co-production with York Theatre Royal, Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, and Mercury Theatre Colchester will open at the York Theatre Royal on 25 February 2022 before a UK tour from March.

The Bone Sparrow is a vivid, and deeply moving story about a Rohingya refugee boy who has spent his entire life living in a detention centre in Australia.

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.

Casting is to be announced.

Playwright S. Shakthidharan said: “So often we are beaten down by the world. We reshape ourselves to fit into it. Subhi’s story is different. In The Bone Sparrow this imaginative young boy discovers within himself a strength that will change the world around him. It is a classic coming of age story: and yet, so much more.

“The Bone Sparrow is by turns a wondrous tale of epic, mythical adventure; a realistic appraisal of what it means to grow up without freedom; and a vision of renewed solidarity across our supposed divisions. I have had a great deal of fun collaborating with Pilot to develop a grand theatricality for this work and deepen its relationship with the Rohingya community. I hope audiences are as delighted and moved by this story as we were in the process of adapting it.”

Director and Artistic director of Pilot Theatre Esther Richardson added: “The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon captured my imagination instantly and moved me in a way few books have before or since. It has been nothing but a privilege to shape this international theatre project with Pilot, which seeks, not only to set this sublimely imaginative, moving, and urgent tale free, but to raise awareness, most especially in young people, about the current situation with child detention, and the plight of the Rohingya.

“Pilot always takes on projects that aim to open the power, possibility, and complexity of the world for audiences. We seek to activate critical thinking as well as compassion and I can’t imagine a more timely or theatrically prescient project than this for our audiences as we return to mid-scale touring.”

The Bone Sparrow will open at York Theatre Royal from 25 February – 5 March 2022 and will then tour to Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, Derby Theatre, Mercury Theatre Colchester, and Belgrade Theatre Coventry.

For more information on The Bone Sparrow visit

Follow on Twitter
Follow on Twitter
Like on Facebook