Spriet Stage

Margaret Atwood's
The Penelopiad

Directed by Megan Follows | Starring Seana McKenna

★★★★★ "A DELICIOUS slice of Canadian theatre at its best."

"McKenna's RIVETING performance breathes life into Atwood's words." - London Free Press

"Seana McKenna is OUTSTANDING" – Theatre in London

Three Canadian cultural icons of the stage, screen, and page come together for one extraordinary experience.

Margaret Atwood

Megan Follows

Seana McKenna

Margaret Atwood's
The Penelopiad

Directed by Megan Follows
Starring Seana McKenna

January 22 to February 9, 2019
Spriet Stage
Opens January 25

“Now that I’m dead, I know everything.” So begins Penelope, the famously faithful wife of the Greek hero Odysseus, speaking from the afterlife in Hades. Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, Alias Grace) retells Homer’s Odyssey through Penelope’s eyes: her husband’s return, along with vengeance and a shocking and violent injustice. The Penelopiad flips the classical myth on its head, giving voice to the chorus of ten handmaidens. With acerbic wit and inspired originality, this contemporary take on an ancient tale is Atwood at her finest.

“It is one thing to read Atwood – another to experience her words on the stage. Listen closely as these women from ancient times speak modern truths.” – Dennis Garnhum

Don't miss legendary actor Seana McKenna in her only stage appearance in 2019! In a recent interview, Ms McKenna talked about her career and taking a break from the stage. Read The Interview »

A Note From Director Megan Follows

Much like its source, The Odyssey, Atwood’s The Penelopiad presents us with an epic—a story worth telling again and again. Today this story is more relevant than ever. The woman who was rendered a footnote in the saga of her husband’s life becomes the protagonist. And yet she tells us her story, at long last, from Hades. Fighting for a voice, fighting for her story, Penelope must also contend with yet another competing narrative, that of her maids, whose lives—lives lived in service of her own—were sacrificed. The play asks us to examine the intersections of narrative that make up our history, to reckon with that honestly, and to consider the cost of our complicity as we go on to tell and retell our stories.

I came to this work first as an actor, and in my experience, speaking Atwood’s words is like chewing glass. When you’re in her world it is so arresting, sharp, delicate, and dangerous, and yet beautiful and delicious. It is an honour to approach this work as director this time around, and I am thrilled to hear these words brought to life anew here at the Grand.

Content Notes

Some strong language, depictions of violence and sexual assault
Haze, fog (grades 9+)

Open Caption performances Wednesday, January 30 at 1:00pm and 7:30pm.  Learn more »


The Wednesday Speakeasy
January 23
January 30
February 6

Pre-show Theatre Talk with James Stewart Reaney
Wednesday, January 30 at 12pm


Megan Follows on Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad
Seana McKenna on Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad

Study Guide

Access our study guide for The Penelopiad

Margaret Atwood's The Penelopiad

The Cast

Praneet Akilla
Claire Armstrong
Tess Benger
Nadine Bhabha
Ingrid Blekys
Dejah Dixon-Green
Deborah Drakeford
Seana McKenna
Ellora Patnaik
Monice Peter
Siobhan Richardson

Production Team

Megan Follows
Philippa Domville
Charlotte Dean
Set Designer
Dana Osborne
Costume Designer
Bonnie Beecher
Lighting Designer
Jamie Nesbitt
Projection Designer
Deanna H. Choi
Composer / Sound Designer / Vocal Coach
Beatrice Campbell
Stage Manager
Loreen Gibson
Assistant Stage Manager
Loralie Pollard
Apprentice Stage Manager
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