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"One of the most wickedly funny and strangely 

powerful productions

of the year." - Theatrefunhouse


click here to read
NYTimes article



(Montreal English Theatre Award) Outstanding Independent Production, Outstanding Theatrical 

Contribution (Evan Stepanian - Live musician)

(Nominations for Outstanding Direction, Ensemble,

and Sound Design)

Scapegoat Carnivale's new adaptation of this 10th century classic was first presented by MainLine Theatre,, August 16-26, 2018 and remounted at Centaur Theatre's Wildside Festival, Jan 17-19,2019.

By Hroswitha of Gandersheim, Adapted by Joseph Shragge from a literal translation by Lynn Kozak, Directed and Concept by Mia van Leeuwen, Dramaturged by Anthony Kennedy.


Stage Managed by Ava Bishop*. Set Design and Scenography by Robert Leveroos, Lighting and Costume Design by Bruno-Pierre Houle, and Sound Design by Joseph Browne and Evan Stepanian. Remount Sound Design by Malte Leander. 

The role of Sapientia is played by Anana Rydvald*, the Daughters by Alex Petrachuk*, Hadrian by Adam Capriolo* and Antiochus by Paul Van Dyck*. Gitanjali Jain* is the musician. This version of the prodution toured to the Clemente Theatre for the International puppet fringe festival NYC, Aug 11-13 2023.

Previous iterations included the following artists: Stage Manager David Epstein, Alison Darcy as Sapientia, Robin Leveroos as Hadrian, Anthony Kennedy as Antiochus and Lar Vi as the Daughters.  The second run was at  Centaur Theatre's Wildside festival from Jan 17-19, 2019. The Premiere was at Mainline Theatre from Aug 16-26, 2018

This production is made possible due to support from Conseil des arts de Montréal and Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

Four talkbacks were held during the first run, each focusing in a different topic directly related to this production, featuring specialized panelists. Learn more here.


 * The participation of these artists is arranged by permission of Canadian Actors' Equity Association under the provisions of the Dance, Opera, Theatre Policy (DOT)

Video credit: George Allister, edited by Joseph Shragge, Actors: Alison Darcy, Anthony Kennedy, Robin Leveroos, and Lar Vi.

"The masterful team behind this production take Hrosvitha's blunt narrative and work magic to make it compelling...The words selected, the intent of every scene, and the overall conception of the production is perfectly crafted art… it absolutely must be seen.” "

-Rachel Levine, Montreal Rampage

"Scapegoat Carnivale enthrals once again with a striking creation bearing its trademark eccentricity."

-Camila Fitzgibbon, Montreal Theatre Hub

"Scapegoat Carnivale’s production of Sapientia is what all open-minded, passionate theater goers live for: smart, irreverent, imaginative works born out of creative teamwork and contagious passion. This show deserves to play to full houses and tour so that more people can discover humanity’s first known female playwright and this theatre company’s original, rallying projects."

- ZoneCulture

“Hyper bon! Hyper bon!”

CIBL on Au Pied du Lit (go to the 9:00 minute mark)

“Une scène qui accuse de brillante manière l’appétit sanguinaire.” 

- Marie Labrecque, Le Devoir 

“Hilarious, powerful, evocative and endlessly entertaining…Tickets are selling fast. See it!"”

 “One of the most striking and unexpectedly enjoyable productions of the year.” 

-Montreal Gazette’s Jim Burke (Tweet, and META awards article)

“Hard core theatre enthusiasts should hope for a remount of this historic and innovative show.”

-Byron Toben,Westmount Magazine

    Now my soul, rejoice

Exult in the Lord. 
             Holy mother, say farewell. 
  Kiss your firstborn, 

but don’t mourn, 
          I march toward eternity.

We are proud to present history’s first western female playwright, Hroswitha of Gandersheim’s 10th century play Sapientia, where a Christian queen martyrs her three children in the face of the Roman Emperor's religious persecution. Its uniquely bizarre narrative about the clash of irreconcilable religions introduces us to the formidable Sapientia pitted against a paternalistic but ineffectual Hadrian. The result of their conflict is a display of lurid violence toward children who, through divine intervention, become immune to physical pain and undergo bodily transformations. 

The production was directed by Mia Van Leeuwen as object theatre, a style where performers animate found materials (e.g., a shoe, a toilet paper roll, a ketchup bottle) rather than puppets and marionettes.

Roswitha of Gandersheim (c. 935 – c. 1002) was a 10th-century German secular canoness, and a dramatist and poet who lived and worked in Gandersheim Abbey in  north-central Germany. She wrote six plays and is considered to be the first person since antiquity to compose drama in the Latin West. The fact that she is so rarely performed prompted the American feminist drama group the Guerrilla Girls to issue the "First Annual Hroswitha Challenge" on their website, announcing that they would bestow the First Annual Hroswitha Award on whichever professional theatre decides "to scrap their plans of producing yet another production of a Greek tragedy and instead produce a play by Hroswitha, the first female playwright". 

Early development of this production was done with Joseph Browne, Alison Darcy, Anthony Kennedy, Robert Leveroos, Joseph Shragge, Mia van Leeuwen and Lar Vi. Previous productions of a similar text with the same director have been seen at the 2014 Canoe Fest in Edmonton, and in Winnipeg in 2015, produced by Aztec Theatre & Theatre Incarnate. Another interpretation of the text has been done again by director Mia van Leeuwen with Theatre Outre in Winnipeg in October, 2018.

Video created by George Allister,

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