Bag Of Bones: Alice Zawadzki’s Bewitching New Show For Manchester Collective

A romantic song cycle, some studio theatre and a touch of jazz, filtered through a hessian sack of deep, dark Central European folklore…
January 17, 2023

Touring across the UK from 2-11 February 2023, Bag of Bones is a deeply personal piece of music theatre set in a dark forest, at the heart of which is an exploration of identity, transgenerational trauma and healing. 

Inspired by folk literature and tales, multi-instrumentalist and composer Alice Zawadzki takes inspiration from her Polish roots and family history to present a vehicle for the audience to examine their own ‘bags of bones’ – the metaphorical baggage we all carry through life – and what happens when we try to sever ourselves from these inherited stories.  

Showcasing a cross-breed ensemble comprising keys, accordion and strings, Alice’s story is told through four ten-minute scenes examining four characters at different stages of a woman’s life. The scene is set by an old witchy crone who carries the bones of an old lover in a sack on her back, refusing to say goodbye and passing them down through the generations that follow her.  

It’s a story of drama, folklore and reflection, told through theatricality and improvisation – new music at its most thrilling, dangerous and cathartic. Classical instrumental pieces will act as interludes to Alice’s music, including movements from David Lang’s Mystery Sonata No.1 and Henryk Górecki’s String Quartet No. 2.  

Manchester Collective (Image: César Vásquez Altamirano)

Northern Bag Of Bones Tour Dates:

Thursday 9 February – Future Yard, Birkenhead

Friday 10 February – Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester

Saturday 11 February – The Warehouse in Holbeck, Leeds


Alice ZawadzkiCreative Director, voice

Rakhi Singh MusicDirector, violin

Charles Kieny Accordion,synthesiser

Bruno Heinen Keyboard

Simmy Singh Violin

Carol Ella Viola

Nick Trygstad Cello


Alice Zawadzki Bag of Bones – World Premiere

Featuring musical interludes by:

David Lang Mystery Sonata No. 1, Joy
Henryk Górecki String Quartet No. 2, IV.
Simón Díaz Tonada de lunallena (arr. Misha Mullov-Abbado)
Trad. Que Florezca La Luz (South America, arr. Misha Mullov-Abbado)
Andrea Tarrodi Miroirs

Header and footer image: Camilla Greenwell