cover of Nights That Shook the Stage by Dwayne Brenna

Nights That Shook the Stage

McFarland 2023

Some of the most raucous evenings in the history of theater are chronicled in this lively discussion of occasions when theater-makers changed the course of theatrical, and sometimes world, history. Covering a wide range of events from the inauspicious opening of Oedipus Rex in Athens, to the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., to the violence-riddled performance of Halla Bol in New Delhi, this book offers detailed and studied observations of specific minutes, hours, and days on the stage. For each staging covered, the author examines the reactions of critics and the public and tells the inside story, identifies the key players, and examines why these events still resound today.

cover of Long Way Home by Dwayne Brenna

Long Way Home

Pocol Press 2022

Follow the journey of Spitz McKague and the Appalachian All-Stars, a team of ex-major leaguers, misfits, and novelty baseball players, as they barnstorm from the streets of St. Louis through the dustbowl of the mid-western states all the way into Canada during the eventful summer of 1934. Along the way, they encounter flagpole sitters, racist hoteliers, unscrupulous policemen, coal miners, rioters, crooked politicians, mad shipbuilders, opium den femme fatales, and an author who bears an uncanny resemblance to John Steinbeck. Trailing not far behind the team bus is a carload of gangsters who mean to punish the All-Stars for reneging on a promise to throw the World Series. While struggling to complete the tour, Spitz and his teammates are also on a metaphorical journey home, to a place where peace and self-forgiveness awaits.

Dwayne Brenna talks about Long Way Home on The Afternoon Edition - Sask

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cover of New Albion by Dwayne Brenna

New Albion

Coteau Books 2016

Chaos and frivolity abound in the New Albion theatre as a theatre troupe (all of whom have their own issues) bands together in the face of every obstacle... and there are many.

New Albion follows the lives of the employees of the New Albion theatre in London, England, in 1850, through the journal entries of the stage manager, Emlyn Phillips.

Fighting its own reputation, hindered by its location and "sketchy" (at best) audience, as well as a police commissioner who demands "morally upstanding" plays, and a playwright so decrepit and addicted to laudanum that the actors of the New Albion are never sure what to expect, the troupe attempts to put on the best show possible, each and every night.

As the theatre encounters problem after problem, Phillips must decide how much he’s willing to sacrifice for the sake of his passion.

"New Albion represents traditional storytelling in the best sense of the word: entertaining, careful of the details, and filled with characters who grow into their roles and who worm their way into the heart of the reader. It has just the right tone and approach."— Judges, 2017 Saskatchewan Book Awards Fiction Award

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Check out Dwayne's interview with Danica Lorer on Lit Happens:

cover of Give My Love to Rose by Dwayne Brenna

Give My Love to Rose

Hagios Press 2015

Give My Love to Rose is broken into two sections: Home and Away, and between those compass points Dwayne Brenna takes the reader on an intimate and highly entertaining journey. Brenna takes on many narrative voices and creates an intimate connection in poem after poem. In this generous collection, Brenna furthers his reputation as a vivid poetic voice keenly attuned to our ideas of place, displacement, and family.

cover of Between the Lines eidted by Dwayne Brenna

Between the Lines: A Journal of Hockey Literature

University of Saskatchewan Press

Between the Lines celebrates creative writing about hockey in all forms, including drama, poetry, fiction and non-fiction.

cover of Stealing Home by Dwayne Brenna

Stealing Home

Hagios Press 2013

Stealing Homeis not so much about baseball as it is about how baseball has a way of shaping seasons and relationships in our lives. Here you will find engaging poems about the love of the game, and how it illuminates indelible sacrifices we must all endure. A heartbreaking loss deepens a son’s relationship with his father, and how an infield is altered forever for a young couple who make love on the infield grass in the dead of night. Brenna also presents poems that take us back to moments in the history of the sport, giving voice to many of baseball’s icons.

"In brief narratives where we meet such immortals as Casey Stengel, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Satchel Page, we are taken out to the ballgame to witness its inherent poetry. We also meet the local players, sand-lot philosophers and even Brenna himself: poet, player, coach, fan. Always, behind the stats, the egos, and the hero-worship, is the real story; not a bunch of overpaid idols but the account of their common humanity in all its tobacco-chawing wonder and complexity."—David Carpenter

cover of Our Kind of Work by Dwayne Brenna

Our Kind of Work

The Glory Days and Difficult Times of the 25th Street Theatre

Thistledown Press 2011

Twenty-fifth Street Theatre was established in 1972 as an artists’ collective under the direction of the enigmatic Andreas Tahn. The company would proceed to incorporate in 1974 and become the first professional theatre company in Saskatoon, and the legacy it would leave would be nationally acclaimed. But Dwayne Brenna’s succinct analysis of the Theatre, how it managed its personality conflicts, confronted its obstacles of inadequate funding, and grappled with the shifting of its artistic vision makes this account of 25th Street Theatre a unique and original history.

Twenty-fifth Street Theatre was established in 1972 as an artists’ As anyone involved in the arts knows financial and artistic struggles often are the fire through which a cultural organization is forged. Brenna understands this and recounts such events with precision, but just as importantly he knows that this theatre’s perspicacity and passion are what made it special. Whether discussing how the Theatre would lay the groundwork for notable playwrights such as Brad Fraser, Linda Griffiths, Greg Nelson, Kit Brennan, Ken Mitchell, and Connie Gault, or detailing the background for the vision and energy of Andras Tahn, Brenna leaves the reader with a clear understanding of the ingenuity and inventiveness of its players as much as he does the unique challenges faced by collectives, and the constant assault that finances and an unforgiving Board of Directors can have on artistic vision.

This is the story of a theatre’s personality, its small, youthful beginnings, its risky devised performances, its original scripts, and its improvised collective creations with famed icons such as Theatre Passe Muraille’s Paul Thompson.

cover of Emrys’ Dream by Dwayne Brenna

Emrys’ Dream

Greystone Theatre in Photographs and Words

Thistledown 2007

The University of Saskatchewan’s Greystone Theatre has the distinction of being the oldest degree-granting drama program in the British Commonwealth and its cultural history is both glamorous and intriguing. Emrys’ Dream: Greystone Theatre in Photographs and Words chronicles the social and historical forces of this landmark theatre and, through its use of still photographs and retrospective essays and interviews, is an important addition to the cultural history of Saskatchewan and the University. The archival black & white photographs together with a collection of essays and interviews featuring the work of Walter Mills, Henry Woolf, Ronald Mavor, Patrick O’Neill and others provide a sense of the political, social, and economic undercurrents that were present at the time of the production.

cover of Eddie Gustafson’s Guide to Christmas and Other Winter Fun by Dwayne Brenna

Eddie Gustafson’s Guide to Christmas and Other Winter Fun

Coteau 2000

A hilarious and insightful guide to the Yuletide season can be found in this collection of short stories told from the viewpoint of Eddie Gustafson, a Norwegian old-timer living in the Scandinavian community of Littlestone, Saskatchewan. Learn how to make the Norwegian Christmas delicacy lutefisk, how to stay warm in electric underwear, how to win at Norwegian whist or at a strekkenbokker polka contest. Find out why you should never butter the popcorn you string on a Christmas tree in a Norwegian home, or why you should drink aquavit only in extreme moderation. And acquaint yourself with one of the funniest, most eccentric and endearing casts of characters you'll ever come across.

cover of Scenes from Canadian Plays by Dwayne Brenna

Scenes from Canadian Plays

From Automatic Pilot to Zastrozzi

Fifth House 1989

In this collection of 35 scenes from well-known Canadian plays, readers will find some of the best writing and characters from the dramatic world. The plays, written by Canada's finest playwrights, represent the regions of Canada, and they provide a variety of roles for both men and women.