The Handmaid’s TaleBased on the Novel by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale

Based on the Novel by Margaret Atwood


Production Supporter: BMO


Production Supporter: BMO


Production Supporter: BMO


Production Supporter: The Richardson Foundation

Dark romanticism, enlightening truths, and forbidden desires permeate this ambitious interpretation of Margaret Atwood’s award-winning novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. The sobering speculative tale is thrillingly reimagined through extraordinary athleticism and theatricality. Enslaved to the Commander of Gilead where human rights have been stripped away, the concubine Offred must navigate this dystopian society alongside her fearless friend Moira and illicit lover Nick.

In this ballet, Lila York, along with a talented creative team, preserves the novel’s prophetic spirit and human story, creating a powerful and poignant interpretation of the gripping tale. Everything about this ballet is entrancing: the dancers’ athleticism, impressive costumes by Liz Vandal, ingenious sets, and the stirring music of James MacMillan and Arvo Pärt amongst others. Atwood’s penetrating message, more timely and relevant than ever, shines through in York’s finely honed world. The Calgary Herald attests that we “brought an edgy, dynamic, and superbly acted steel to this story’s cutting blade.”

“Creating a ballet based on Margaret Atwood’s prescient novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, has been a longstanding and passionate wish for me. In the years since the novel’s debut in 1985 it has only grown in relevance and importance. Once seen as “controversial”, the story, its premise and its characters, are now fully part of our culture and our lexicon. It has been a privilege for me to work with RWB and their brilliant and dedicated dancers on this project. I am deeply indebted to Ms. Atwood for her support and her wisdom.”
— Lila York in regards to working with Margaret Atwood on The Handmaid’s Tale.

Content Warning: This production contains mature themes (including simulated deaths), flashing lights, smoke machines, and haze. It is not suitable for audiences under 13.


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Behind the Ballet

Performance Teaser

Production Gallery

Featured Creative Team


    ​Lila York

    Associate Scenic Design

    Anshuman Bhatia


    ​James MacMillan, Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke and others

    Lighting Design

    Clifton Taylor & Anshuman Bhatia

    Costume Design

    Liz Vandal

    Projection Design

    Sean Nieuwenhuis

    Scenic Design

    Clifton Taylor