World Premiere
Wayne McGregor

November 23 – 30, 2022

World Premiere
Wayne McGregor

November 23 – 30, 2022


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 CrakeThe 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 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. 1McGregor is a highly sought choreographer of contemporary ballet and movement. His choreographic language is visceral and exciting, featuring angular positions, sky-high extensions and daring partnering.
  2. 2McGregor channels his curiosity about art, science and technology into trailblazing multi-disciplinary works that position dance at the centre of contemporary ideas. He creates for theatre, dance, opera, film, music videos and fashion shows and holds an Honorary Doctor of Science from Plymouth University.
  3. 3MADDADDAM has three acts, each with a distinct scenic world. The design is precise and minimalist, giving just enough to cue the imagination to fill in the blanks. The design firm We Not I created an architectural scan of the Toronto skyline that acknowledges the Canadian elements in Atwood’s writing and the ballet’s creation – choreography, sets and costumes – in Toronto.
  4. 4Like McGregor, Atwood pushes the boundaries of form and genre and she is fascinated by scientific discovery. She has said that in Oryx and Crake 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?”
  5. 5MADDADDAM is the National Ballet’s third full-length co-production with The Royal Ballet in London, following Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 2011 and The Winter’s Tale in 2015, both by Christopher Wheeldon and Joby Talbot.
Watch and Explore


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.  


“[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 

“Working with dancers is, for me, one of the great pleasures because my world is full of text and ideas and concepts. Dance is kind of a different language. It’s very emotional, but it is, in a way, abstract and nonverbal.” – Max Richter in Vanity Fair


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

Assistant to the Choreographer:
Jenny Tattersall

Assistant to the Film Designer:
Luke Unsworth

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 Gail Hutchison Fund, The Walter Carsen New Creations Fund 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, 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 and The Jack Weinbaum Family Foundation.

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