The Handmaid’s Tale
Based on the Novel by Margaret Atwood
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.
Behind the Ballet
Featured Creative Team
Associate Scenic Design
James MacMillan, Arvo Pärt, Alfred Schnittke and others
Clifton Taylor & Anshuman Bhatia