Footscray’s treasured Women’s Circus is chalking up its 25th anniversary with an exhibition and an ambitious take on a literary classic.

An ensemble of 30 women will present an adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad at the Drill Hall later this month.

They will be use the performance to explore the silencing of women’s stories and the prevalence of violence against women.

Executive director Devon Taylor said the story resonated with the original purpose of the Women’s Circus, founded in 1991 to work with women who were the survivors of violence or abuse.

While the organisation has since expanded to bring women of all ages, backgrounds and experiences into the fold, Ms Taylor said it remained a welcoming and safe space for women to express themselves creatively.

Coinciding with the performances will be an exhibition at the Footscray Community Arts Centre, where the story all began for the circus in 1991. Ms Taylor said it had been a monumental task to compile photos, stories and memorabilia for the exhibition.

The Women’s Circus: Stories in Motion exhibition will open on November 17 at the FCAC Gabriel Gallery. The Penelopiad will be staged from November 22-27, including a gala night on November 25.