Ryga Arts Festival

Summerland festival Aug 24-Sept 1

The fourth annual Ryga Arts Festival will be held in Summerland from August 24th to September 1st, featuring a diverse blend of concerts, theatre, spoken word, and visual arts, totaling 19 unique events. The festival celebrates the legacy of George Ryga (1932-1987), the great Canadian author who lived and worked in Summerland. Ryga was one of the most influential playwrights in Canadian history, whose works were performed all over the world, including Russia, China, and Japan. His writing often interweaves themes of identity, indigeneity, social commentary, and the role of the artist.

The festival’s artistic director Heather Davies says “We’re particularly excited to have Bill Henderson and members of the iconic band Chilliwack performing with Haida singer Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson in our August 31st headliner concert INTERWEAVING, in an exploration of the spirit of improvisation that connects traditional Haida music and jazz. The show also features Juno-nominated Jodi Proznick on bass and talented vocalists Saffron and Camille Henderson.

The festival’s kick-off event CELEBRATION on August 24th will include readings and performances celebrating George Ryga’s soaring range of writing, showcasing the talents of many of our visiting artists and Gina Payzant’s award-winning documentary on Ryga, titled “Just a Ploughboy.”

Ed Henderson, original Chilliwack guitarist and Juno-award winning musician, will present an evening of unplugged music called ACOUSTIC BLEND on Friday, August 30th. He will be joined at Summerland’s Centre Stage by the multi-talented singer, composer and pianist david sereda, who will be presenting his own work and the participants from his song circle workshop—the Summerland ‘pop up’ choir.

Ahmad Meree, the Syrian actor-playwright whose one-man show Adrenaline moved audiences to tears two years ago, is one of our artists in residence. He will also lead a workshop called WRITING BY DOING, focusing on creating dynamic theatre two ways: at your keyboard and on your feet.

Other workshops offered by the festival include WRITING FOR NATURE with Nancy
Holmes, a SMARTPHONE FILM WORKSHOP with Erick Thompson and Brandyn Steele, and SING IN THE STORM with david sereda.

Public readings, co-sponsored by the Summerland Library, will include distinguished Canadian authors Aritha van Herk and Lynette Loeppky. Of course, OUTSPOKEN! will return—an annual fixture featuring a rich blend of storytelling, spoken word recitations, and songs by dazzling local talent. Our THEATRE TRAIL will be expanded by artistic director Heather Davies to include even more of the original plays and eclectic venues that made last year’s trail so innovative and popular.

The Ryga Arts Festival has grown by leaps and bounds in four years thanks to strong local
support. It is now the premier cultural event of the summer enhancing the bounty of the Okanagan valley and is one of the few multi-disciplinary festivals in Canada.

Find out more about the Festival and buy tickets to this cornucopia of arts offerings at
http://www.rygafest.ca. Please contact rygafest@gmail.com with any questions. We are also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as @rygafest.

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