Shin Sugino

Margaret Atwood

Canadian author

In 2007, Canada's National Arts Centre and Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company co-produced a play by celebrated Canadian Author, Margaret Atwood. It was the first time the two organizations had ever collaborated.

With a cast drawn from both nations, The Penelopiad received rave reviews when it premiered on both sides of the Atlantic. It has since been staged many times in the UK and North America, and – accomplishing another goal of its creator – The Penelopiad is often performed by students in high school and university drama programs. 

"I don’t think it would have become a full-length play without the NAC," Atwood said. "Their support was instrumental." 

When asked why the arts matter, she responded, "The arts are at the core of our nature. Dragonflies can get along fine without Shakespeare. But there is no human culture that does not narrate, make music, or manipulate the visual. The arts are inseparable from who we are as people."

Together nine visionary Canadian women known as the Penelope Circle, provided critical financial support for this production inspiring a renewed commitment at the NAC to the creation of Canadian works.