Poul Ruders

The Handmaid’s Tale

Memory is strength. Love is resistance.

A powerful story of courage and survival in the face of repression, The Handmaid’s Tale opera is based on Margaret Atwood’s major novel of the same name.

Poul Ruders’ opera features a score that draws on medieval chants and gospel music. Together with a minimalist libretto by Paul Bentley, this production captures the dissonant brutality of the Republic of Gilead.

Women have been entirely stripped of their freedom and rights in Gilead. Fertile women, Handmaids, are forced to reproduce with Commanders of the Republic. Terror is a daily reality for Handmaid Offred. She defies the regime, refusing to surrender her identity and independence.

Directed by Annilese Miskimmon, the ENO’s Artistic Director, and conducted by Joana Carneiro, the ENO’s production of The Handmaid’s Tale has an exceptional cast – including mezzo-sopranos Kate Lindsey (Offred) and Susan Bickley (Offred’s mother), alongside soprano Rachel Nicholls (Aunt Lydia), contralto Avery Amereau (Serena Joy), and ENO Harewood Artist John Findon (Luke).

This thought-provoking work, revived after a successful run in 2022, asks questions around state power and the fragility of freedom. Book your tickets now to experience this dystopian opera, The Handmaid’s Tale, live at the London Coliseum in 2024.

This production is generously supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust

‘One of the most powerful operas of the century’

The Financial Times

‘Three absorbing hours; well worth your time’

The Times

‘It is constantly gripping’

The Telegraph

‘Every aspect of the singing and production is impressive’

The Observer

Running Time
2hrs 45mins

There is one interval.


We have an Access Scheme for our audiences with a disability, a health condition, or different access needs to ensure everyone has a comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Please note, Under 21s and Under 35s tickets are sold out for this event. Tickets start at just £10 plus £3.75 booking fee and £1.50 Building Levy per ticket. A maximum of £10.50 per transaction is charged.
Sung in English with the words displayed above the stage (Surtitles)

Age Guidance: 15+.
Please be aware that this production contains some adult content which may not be suitable for young audiences.

For more information, please contact our box office on 020 7845 9300 or [email protected]

  • Good availability
  • Selling fast
  • Limited tickets
  • Sold out
Interior of the American Bar at the London Coliseum

Upgrade your evening

Join us before the show for classic Italian ‘cicchetti’ and Spanish tapas, followed by dessert during the interval.

Book now
Image of the interior of the Champagne Bar at the London Coliseum

Add a touch of luxury to your evening

Soak up the atmosphere away from the crowds in our Champagne Bar before the show.

Find out more

Discover The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale 2024 Creative Team

The Handmaid's Tale 2024 Cast

The Handmaid’s Tale Opera FAQs

A performance of The Handmaid’s Tale opera at the ENO’s London Coliseum is roughly 2hrs 45 mins with one interval. Book your tickets now to secure your spot at one of the ENO’s performances in 2024. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is a contemporary production that has been attracting opera newbies since its debut in March 2000. With its minimalist music, haunting atmosphere and harrowing score, The Handmaid’s Tale opera is a simplified version of the original novel. So, whether you’re a fan of the award-winning TV series or are drawn to fictional tales with a dystopian twist, we think you’ll enjoy the ENO’s live production of The Handmaid’s Tale. 

The ENO’s production of The Handmaid’s Tale has an age guidance of 15+. Scenes of sexual violence, suicide and death as well as use of strong language throughout make this opera one that may not be suitable for young audiences. 

For a more family-friendly opera, why not try our spring production of The Magic Flute

The Handmaid’s Tale is a controversial story due to its depiction of a dystopian society where women’s rights are severely restricted raising concerns about gender inequality, reproductive rights and religious extremism. Although fictional and set in a distant future, these themes reflect real-world issues, and have sparked debates on feminism, freedom, and the potential consequences of political and religious extremism.