The Bone Sparrow (2022)

Original Novel by Zana Fraillon

Adapted by award winning playwright S. Shakthidharan

a heartrending tale about how our stories make us” The Times

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. The Night Sea brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories.

One night in the form of Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl who 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.

With an affecting and distinctive narrative voice … [Zana Fraillon] builds a convincing and complete world. Moving and memorable, The Bone Sparrow deserves to be read by all who care about our common humanity” The Guardian

The Bone Sparrow is a co-production with York Theatre Royal, Derby Theatre, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, and Mercury Theatre Colchester.

The production has been developed in collaboration with our partners Australian Theatre for Young People (ATYP), Sydney, and SBC Theatre, Bradford.


The Bone Sparrow playtexts by S.Shakthidharan: £7.99 (published price £10.99)

To purchase email

Educational Resources

GCSE Drama Resource Pack A PDF:
The Bone Sparrow GCSE Drama Pack A PDF

This resource pack is tailored  for Drama educators and GCSE Drama students who may be watching The Bone Sparrow in preparation for the live theatre section of the GCSE Drama written exam. This is Part A and is designed to be used before watching the production.

GCSE Drama Resource Pack b:

The Bone Sparrow GCSE Drama Pack B PDF

Part B is designed to be used after watching the production, to provide specific key details on moments from the live production that students may want to explore.

KS3 English Resource Pack:
The Bone Sparrow KS3 Pack PDF

This resource pack is aimed at educators who are teaching The Bone
Sparrow novel by Zana Fraillon within KS3 English and PSHE curricula.

Tour Dates & Venues

York Theatre Royal

25 February – 5 March 2022

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds

9-12 March

Derby Theatre

16-19 March

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry

22-26 March

Mercury Theatre, Colchester

29 March – 2 April

Theatre Peckham

7th April – 23rd April

Designed by Miriam Nabarro
Composition and Sound Design by Arun Ghosh
Lighting Design by Ben Cowens
Video Design by Daniel Denton
Assistant Direction by Sirazul Islam (through the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme)
Puppetry Direction by Alison Duddle


A young boy is sat down, his elbows rested on his knees. In one hand he holds a small book and with the other hand he writes in it. He has short, dark curly hair and is wearing a white sports t-shirt with red sleeves. Behind him is a border guard and the chain-link fences of a detention centre.

A young Rohingyan boy laid down, resting on his elbows. He has short, dark curly hair and is wearing a white sports t-shirt with red sleeves. There is a chain-link fence of a detention centre between him and a young girl who lays down and reaches her arm below the fence toward him. She is a white girl with dark brown hair in a bob. She wears a checked vest and denim shorts.

A young Rohingya boy stands in the foreground. He is wearing a white sports t-shirt with red sleeves, dark tracksuit bottoms and white trainers. Behind him are six other people, three women and three men, dressed in natural light-weight fabrics. Large chain-link fences topped with barbed-wire flank the figures. Behind them is a huge project of a hand-drawn bird and feather.

A boy wearing a white sports t-shirt with red sleeves and dark tracksuit bottoms leaps over blue fabric. The fabric is flowing like waves. The background is a blue wall with light blue markings that give the appearance of water.

A teenage detainee holding an official document looks angrily at a border guard. The uniformed guard looks straight ahead, armed folded.

Three people, two boys and one girl, sat on a bench eating from enamel bowls. The boys wear a mix of sportswear whilst the girl wears a white shirt, long skirt, and turquoise headscarf. The boy in the middle points accusingly at the girl and she is reacting in shock.