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Leanna Brodie is an actor, writer and translator. Her plays (published by Talonbooks) include The Book of Esther, For Home and Country, The Vic and Schoolhouse, as well as CBC radio dramas Invisible City and Seeds of Our Destruction. She was the first Canadian invited to the ACT/Hedgebrook Women Playwrights’ Festival. She also translates Quebec drama into English—most recently, Louise Bombardier’s Ma mère chien and Hélène Ducharme’s Baobab. Her libretti were heard in Tapestry New Opera Works’ Opera to Go 2008; in David Ogborn’s acclaimed site-specific piece, Opera on the Rocks; and in Emergence, his song cycle featuring a singing robot. The Angle of Reflection, with New Zealand composer Anthony Young, was produced by the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. This season, The Book of Esther, a love story about urban queers and rural evangelicals, premieres at the Blyth Festival. Schoolhouse has been seen by over twenty thousand Canadians in multiple sold-out runs, and is slated for further productions in 2010. In 2013 Brodie was nominated for a Jessie Richardson Theatre Award for her performance in Terminus.
Photograph: Pierre Gautreau
July 2012 : Schooling in the Old Days
May 2012 : Ulla's Odyssey
June 2011 : Festival Players Open Up The Book of Esther
QUOTES OF NOTEBook of Esther, The
"Like The Vic, Leanna Brodie’s play The Book of Esther is filled with tenderness, heart, and humour. It is also an eloquent plea for understanding. It posits that people who feel they are very much on the opposite ends of the belief spectrum can learn to understand human difference. Are her dreams possible to realize in reality? I’m not sure, but one must admire her skill as a writer, and her ambition as a dreamer."
"For those who fear yet another gay diatribe wrapped in a religious title, Leanna Brodie’s The Book of Esther is not that play. Set in both the urban and rural landscapes of the 1980s, the work stands in the ongoing Canadian tradition of drama with characters trying to forge their identities and, by extension, define the nation, as well. Whether or not one agrees with the opinions of the characters is beside the point. Brodie is exploring the possibility of a Canada where the embattled farmer, the gay urbanite, and runaway teen-agers can find themselves in this mosaic of ours, through mutual respect …" —Dr. Lloyd Arnett
“The issue is simple—as black-and-white as a Holstein cow … But, happily, The Book of Esther is more than a simple catalogue of controversial, or at least provocative, subjects. When the play opens, the forces that divide—ignorance, prejudice, intolerance, hypocrisy and arrogance—are given free rein. At play’s end, however, the forces that bind—understanding, compassion, tolerance, honesty and love—assert themselves.”
“There were audible gasps in the audience as the play’s teenage anti-hero, A.D., spouted off his anti-religious diatribes. Some of his dialogue was so politically incorrect that, if an adult had spoken the lines, it would border on hate-mongering. But that is the conflict situation that Leanna Brodie has set up in her play.”
—Globe & Mail
QUOTES OF NOTESchoolhouse
“A thoughtful … well crafted … beautifully inspired piece. Like the Blyth Festival, Schoolhouse is a Canadian story. It is an excellent choice to mark the theatre’s 100th milestone, compelling and richly rural.”
– Ottawa Citizen
"Under the (quite-skilled) storytelling, the play is an exuberantly theatrical and moving tribute to the schoolhouse itself, filled with memories and local details distilled from Brodie’s extensive interviews with former teachers and students who shared the experience of the one-room school."
– Canadian Literature
QUOTES OF NOTEFor Home and Country
The play’s generosity of spirit equals that of the Women’s Institutes that are its subject.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program; and the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council for our publishing activities.