World Premiere
Wayne McGregor

World Premiere
Wayne McGregor

“A sensory feast of sights and sounds… an undeniably thrilling experience.” – Toronto Star

Content Warning
As an interpretation of the dystopian world created by Margaret Atwood in her MaddAddam trilogy, the ballet MADDADDAM contains similar mature themes. This includes depictions of violence and sexual violence that may be upsetting for some audience members. Not recommended for children under 13.


Wayne McGregor, the multi-award-winning choreographer of Chroma and Genus, has joined 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, and features original music from the ground-breaking contemporary composer Max Richter. 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 been nearly obliterated apart from a small group who must forge a new way of life in the ruins. 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. 1An acclaimed choreographer of contemporary ballet and movement, McGregor channels his curiosity about art, science and technology into trailblazing multi-disciplinary works. He creates for theatre, dance, opera, film, music videos and fashion shows and holds an Honorary Doctor of Science from Plymouth University.
  2. 2MADDADDAM has three acts, each with a distinct scenic world. Precise and minimalist, the design reflects the interests of the creative team in architecture, typography and graphic design.
  3. 3MADDADDAM sees McGregor reuniting with his frequent collaborator Max Richter, the influential British composer, pianist, producer and remixer. Richter composed the scores for McGregor’s Infra (2008) and Woolf Works (2015), among other works, and his music is in high demand in film and television.
  4. 4The cutting-edge creative team also includes fashion designer Gareth Pugh, the design firm We Not I, lighting designer Lucy Carter and filmmaker Ravi Deepres. All are leading figures in art, technology and design.”
  5. 5MADDADDAM is the National Ballet’s third full-length co-production with The Royal Ballet in London and the first to have its world premiere in Toronto.
Watch and Explore


MADDADDAM: The Concept



MADDADDAM View Gallery

Q&A with Margaret Atwood

Article: Dramaturg Uzma Hameed on Translating Atwood’s Trilogy into Dance

The Creators

English choreographer Wayne McGregor has gained international recognition for his kinetic, interdisciplinary approach to dance. He is Artistic Director of Studio Wayne McGregor, 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 became an award-winning television series and The Testaments, the long-awaited sequel, was 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 oeuvre includes a bold reworking of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons and he composes prolifically for screen and dance. Richter collaborates frequently with English choreographer Wayne McGregor, having composed original music for his ballets Infra, Kairos and Woolf Works, among other projects.  


MADDADDAM is just the kind of bold, imaginative assertion of classical ballet’s potential evolution that is most likely to woo new audiences and ensure the art form’s survival.”– Toronto Star

“An impressionistic, emotionally charged theatrical response to the books’ overarching themes” – Toronto Star

“Full of gob-smackingly inventive choreography with large casts of dancers creating an almost kaleidoscopic whirl of movement” – Toronto Star

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

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

Running Time

  • Act I 30m
  • Intermission 25m
  • Act II 30m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act III 30m
  • Total (approx) 2h 20m


Inspired by Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy

Wayne McGregor, CBE

Original Music:
Max Richter *

Creative Consultant:
Margaret Atwood

We Not I

Costume Designer:
Gareth Pugh

Lighting Design:
Lucy Carter

Film Design:
Ravi Deepres

Uzma Hameed

Sound Engineer:
Chris Ekers

Assistant to the Choreographer:
Jenny Tattersall

Natasha Frid Finlay with Rosslyn King

Music Team:

Dave Foster

Sample Programming:
Rob Ashbridge

Mix Engineer:
Tom Bailey

Assistant Engineer:
Alice Bennet

Text Readings:
Tilda Swinton & Josh Davidson

Special Thanks:
Tif Loehnis

Film Design Creative Team:

Film Design Associate and Lidar:
Luke Unsworth

Video Programmer:
Edward Freeman

Animation Specialist:
Steven Spencer

Film Producer:
Pip Piper

Assistant Production and Art Direction:
Evy Dutheil

Assistant Producer Toronto/Montreal:
Lucy Cameron

Camera Assistant:
Nigel Tang

Toronto Location Scout:
Vanessa Shah

Special Thanks to:
Ryerson Urban Farm, Churchill Science Research Centre, Growing Underground, Discover Churchill, CN Tower, Montréal Biosphere and Habitat, Union Station, The Westin Harbourfront & The Fairmont Royal York, Birmingham City University Research, Haliburton Wolf Sanctuary, Wolf Watch Uk.

* © 2022 Decca Publishing, a division of Universal Music Publishing Group

World Premiere: The National Ballet of Canada, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, Toronto, November 23, 2022

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, Tony Arrell, C.M. & Anne Arrell, Rosamond Ivey, The Gail Hutchison Fund, Tim & Frances Price, Gretchen Ross & Donald Ross, O.C. and The Producers’ Circle.

The commissioned score for MADDADDAM has been generously underwritten by Noreen Taylor, C.M. & David Staines, C.M., O.Ont. 

The Producers’ Circle: Gail & Mark Appel, John & Claudine Bailey, Inger Bartlett & Marshal Stearns, Laura Dinner & Richard Rooney, Gail Drummond & Bob Dorrance, 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 Lozinski, O.C. & Joan Lozinski, O.C., The Honourable Margaret Norrie McCain, C.C., Julie Medland, Sandra Pitblado, C.M & Jim Pitblado, C.M., The Harry & Lillian Seymour Family Foundation and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation. 

The National Ballet of Canada gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the following:

Running Time

  • Act I 30m
  • Intermission 25m
  • Act II 30m
  • Intermission 20m
  • Act III 30m
  • Total (approx) 2h 20m

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Ballet Talks

Please note, there will be no live Ballet Talk for MADDADDAM. We will present a behind the scenes video series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre prior to the show.

Live Ballet Talks will return for the Winter and Summer Seasons.