World Premiere

November 21– 29, 2020

World Premiere

November 21– 29, 2020


This season, Wayne McGregor, the multi-award winning choreographer of Chroma and Genus, joins forces with one of the world’s greatest living writers, Margaret Atwood, to create a thrilling new ballet triptych for The National Ballet of Canada. MADDADDAM is based on Atwood’s acclaimed novel trilogy, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood, and MaddAddam. Themes of extinction and invention, hubris and humanity are spliced together with aspects of Atwood's activism and her deep connection to the Canadian landscape, past and present.

The Premise

MADDADDAM is inspired by Atwood’s speculative fictions, in which, famously, nothing is invented that is not already occurring somewhere in our world. In Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, humanity has nearly been obliterated apart from a small group who must forge a new way of life in the ruins of their known world. Characterized by exuberant imagination, disruptive wit and unflinching moral acuity, Atwood’s writing holds up a mirror to the terrifying consequences of out of control technological experimentation, greed, misogyny and colonialism.


Five Things to Know
  1. MADDADDAM is a brand new work co-produced and co-commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet in London. This is the National Ballet’s third full-length co-production with The Royal Ballet, following Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 2011 and The Winter’s Tale in 2015, both by Christopher Wheeldon.
  2. Wayne McGregor is one of the most innovative and in-demand choreographers working today. His choreographic language is visceral and contemporary, full of sky-high extensions, angular beauty and ambitious, unexpected partnering, as seen in Chroma and Genus.
  3. McGregor channels his curiosity about various artistic forms, science and technology into trailblazing multi-disciplinary works that position dance at the centre of contemporary art and ideas. He choreographs for theatre, dance, opera, film, music videos and fashion shows and holds an Honorary Doctor of Science from Plymouth University.
  4. For MADDADDAM, McGregor has reassembled the creative team behind his landmark 2015 ballet Woolf Works, a full-length work based on the life and writings of another literary giant, Virginia Woolf. The team includes influential composer Max Richter – who recently created the soundtrack for the 2019 film Ad Astra – lighting designer Lucy Carter, design firm We Not I, film artist Ravi Deepres and dramaturg Uzma Hameed.
  5. Like McGregor, Margaret Atwood pushes the boundaries of traditional forms and genres in her work and has long been fascinated with scientific discovery. In Oryx and Crake, she says she wanted to ask, “What if we continue down the road we’re already on? How slippery is the slope? What are our saving graces? Who’s got the will to stop us?”

MADDADDAM View Gallery

The Creators

English choreographer Wayne McGregor has gained international recognition for his kinetic, interdisciplinary approach to dance. He is Artistic Director of Wayne McGregor | Random Dance, Artistic Associate at Sadler's Wells Theatre and, since 2006, Resident Choreographer at The Royal Ballet – the first contemporary choreographer ever to hold this position.

Canada’s most decorated author, Margaret Atwood, has written more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, critical essays and graphic novels and she is published in more than 45 countries worldwide. Her bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale is now an award-winning television series and The Testaments, her long-awaited sequel, is the co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

The Composer

Born in Germany, Max Richter is an influential composer and musician renowned for combining classical tradition with electronic and contemporary music. His high profile solo work and compositions for stage and screen include scores for the British television shows Black Mirror and Peaky Blinders and for the Golden Globe-winning film, Waltz with Bashir.


“[Wayne McGregor is] an adventuresome experimenter with a restless mind, intent on pushing his disparate audience, his collaborators and himself.” — The New York Times

“A pioneer in exploiting the links between his art, and the scientific development that have revolutionised 21st-century life.” — The Financial Times

“Art, music, philosophy, science, current events... When McGregor is working at his best, they come together in a magnificently stimulating whole.” —The Telegraph

“Margaret Atwood has long been Canada’s most famous writer, and current events have polished the oracular sheen of her reputation.” — The New Yorker

Joint Release: Wayne McGregor and Margaret Atwood present MADDADDAM, A Major International Collaboration Between The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet.


Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy.

Wayne McGregor, CBE

Original Music:
Max Richter

Creative Consultant:
Margaret Atwood

We Not I

Lighting Design:
Lucy Carter

Film Design:
Ravi Deepres

Uzma Hameed

Assistant to the Choreographer:
Jenny Tattersall

Co-produced and commissioned by The National Ballet of Canada and The Royal Ballet (UK).

Lead philanthropic support for MADDADDAM is provided by The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund, with generous underwriting from Rosamond Ivey and The Producers' Circle.

The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, The Thor E. and Nicole Eaton Family Charitable Foundation, Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan, Kevin Garland & Roger Garland, C.M., Ira Gluskin & Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, The William & Nona Heaslip Foundation, Anna McCowan Johnson & Donald K. Johnson, O.C., Judy Korthals & Peter Irwin, Mona & Harvey Levenstein, Jerry & Joan Lozinski, The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation, Gerald Sheff & Shanitha Kachan and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

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