The Ryga Arts Festival stretches over several days from September 20th to 24th and features Theatre, Music and Spoken Word events, as well as workshops and a symposium. All of which commemorate Summerland resident, George Ryga (1932-1987), and because George was the son of Ukrainian immigrants, this year’s festival focuses on the crisis in Ukraine, the resilience of the Ukrainian people and celebrates Ukrainian Canadian heritage. Here’s our line-up for 2023!
Join us at this popular event, this year held as a Festival Preview event at Summergate Winery, hosted by Mike and Gillian Stohler and family.
Enjoy a relaxed evening where local and regional poets and spoken word artists invite you into their world for a brief moment in time to experience their thoughts, joys, pains and laughs.
Mike's famous burgers, fries and poutine will be available for purchase!
Join us on the lawn in front of the George Ryga Arts & Cultural Centre for the official Proclamation of Ryga Week and the launching of the 2023 Ryga Arts Festival by Toni Boot, a constant supporter of the Festival since its beginning in 2016. Welcome greetings from Cal Meiklejohn, president of the Ryga Festival Society, and Susan McIver, president of the Summerland Community Arts Council. Musical performance by Barbara Jagodics from the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Centre.
A facilitated panel discussion brings the community together to identify solutions and strategies to help on a personal, local, and political level. We are inviting some who need our help and others who are already helping to settle Ukrainian refugees. Panelists include Karmen McNamara, General Manager of Help Ukraine Vancouver Island; Pavlo Lavreniuk, a trained agronomist recently arrived from Ukraine and settling in Penticton; and Galia Kwetny, an abstract painter, who came to Canada in 2002 from Israel and has been helping the local Ukraine Nightingale Project as a translator.
Come and join the conversation; tickets are free and donations will go to local organizations helping Ukrainian refugees.
Award-winning Okanagan author Harold Rhenisch returns to the Ryga Arts Festival to present:
"Together Again After All These Years: How peaches walked from Asia to Summerland to welcome the Ukrainians home"
An influential teacher and blogger, Harold will read from his books and share insights into his writing process.
He will also give a workshop, "The Words are Strong in Us: A workshop in recovering the lost language of home."
Listen to entertaining readings of Ukrainian Folk Tales for young and old, collected and edited by Danny Evanishen. There is something for everyone among these lively and colourful stories.
Danny has been working on the collections for over 30 years and has published over two dozen books about Ukrainian culture and folk tales.
This lively event will have a mix of music, dance, stories and poetry. Featuring poetry from some of the 45 poets whose work was included in a volume entitled "Poems in Response to Peril: An Anthology in Support of Ukraine." The invited poets will read from their works accompanied by local musicians. Participating poets and writers include: Harold Rhenisch, Patricia Keeney, Sharon Thesen, Yvonne Blomer, and Don Gayton.
Born in Alberta and now living in the Okanagan, Isobel Rondeau will read from her latest novel, "Wings of an Angel", which is receiving rave reviews. This novel takes the reader into everyday life in residential school and addresses the reasons people hide their memories.
Award-winning poet, novelist, and literary critic, Patricia was Writer in Residence at the 2017 Ryga Arts Festival. She is a widely published Canadian poet, novelist and critic with translations of her work published in France, Mexico, China, Bulgaria, South Africa and India among others. She contributed to last year's volume "Poems in Support of Ukraine" and will be reading from this and other works.
Having spent most of her childhood and adult life in Lytton, Meghan poured her heart into a beloved and vibrant little place on Lytton’s Main Street, the Klowa Café. When Klowa was lost to the flames of the wildfire that destroyed Lytton two years ago, Megan was compelled to write out her memory and to communicate the rawness of the trauma. Meghan will read from "Burning Sage: Poems from the Lytton Fire” her first book of poetry.
Celebrate Culture Days by showcasing your creativity through Art! No experience necessary!
Drop by the Summerland Branch and pick up a brown paper bag with art supplies. Choose one of these themes: Ukraine, Conflict, Love, Belonging, Security, or Home. Bring back your finished work to the Library for a show-and-tell session on Friday September 22, between 3:00 and 4:00, where there will be live drawing/painting by Georgia Goerz.
At 4:00 pm, watch a special Indigenous Hoop Dancing demonstration Barbara Jagodics.
Have you always wanted to try acting? Or maybe did some in the past and want to get back into it? Or maybe you just want a way to meet some new people and have fun! Play your way through the basics of acting in a fun and welcoming space! Discover your own skills with improv, voice, and character, and see just how much it can be easily transferred to everyday life! Must have a willingness to participate, learn, and have fun!
Jamie Doll brings her professional skills honed at Theatre Calgary and Soundstage Productions to this 2-hour workshop where you can upgrade your acting techniques or learn new ones. No experience necessary.
ALINA, a play by Leanna Makuch is inspired by the true experiences of a 19 year old Ukrainian volunteer combat medic who leaves everything behind to go to the front line of one of the deadliest battles of the war in Eastern Ukraine. But it's when she returns home to the shock of "peaceful" civiilian life that she realizes her struggle does not end at the front. Alina is an exhilarating, breathless journey towards and away from war; a production of Pyretic Productions of Edmonton, and was created after three visits to Ukraine by the artistic team.
Using interviews, newspaper headlines, historical and documentary materials, the team from Pyretic Productions of Edmonton have created compelling theatre. Playwright Lianna Makuch and director Patrick Lundeen discuss and share their collaborative process.
Theatre Trail takes its audience on an enjoyable and gentle walking tour of beautiful downtown Summerland and introduces five short original plays, all by local playwrights and staged in surprising non-traditional venues. This is always a Festival Favourite. Get your tickets early!
Natalie Hobbs, a coast-to-coast performer and specialist in a variety of dance styles from the Swing Era, will get you on your feet during this 1-hour class.
Swing Dance to the music of much loved honorary Summerlander (actually Vancouver-based) Aaron Loewen. Aaron weaves Django Reinhardt-inspired jazz guitar with the vocal melodies of classic American jazz standards and creates the great dance tunes. Just try and sit still!
Juno Award-winning Campbell Ryga (Saxophone) and Sergei Ryga (Keyboard & Vocals), George and Norma Ryga's sons, are back!! Joining them are their world-class musician friends Cameron Ward (Bass) and Dan Marcelino (Drums), forming an all-star quartet. Don't miss this evening of fabulous jazz and blues. Get your tickets early!
A rare opportunity for your child ages 3.5 - 5 to have the guidance and instruction of highly skilled Renee Iaci, the award-winning actor, director and theatre teacher. Any parent who recognizes their child's interest in performing on stage should ensure their child's participation.
Inspired by stories from around the world, young actors and musicians will take on a new persona, act out the story and sing and play their own soundscape with hands-on instruments provided. The workshop will conclude with theatre and music games that stimulate the imagination and creativity.
In this workshop, students age 12 - 16 will take a look at the specific intersection of song and scene. Participants will take a look at what makes a song work and learn to apply acting skills and gain confidence performing freely.
This workshop is for teens who sing in the shower, in the car or on stage. Students will use a Broadway or pop repertoire to learn the fundamentals of musical theatre performance. Acting techniques and speaking/singing skills will come together.
Rosina Turner is a music teacher with expertise in a variety of instruments and genres.
In keeping with tradition the festival will wind up with a Hootenanny!
Bring your instrument and your voice and join in! Always fun, always rousing, always energizing.
An intensive songwriting workshop with two original singer-songwriters Aiden Mayes and Dan Tait who will share their award-winning songwriting and music-making processes along with practical demos and techniques.
The RYGA ARTS FESTIVAL organizers team up with the hosts of popular house concerts, "An Evening In The Valley" to present a unique concert with five singer-songwriters performing together and independently: Dan Tait, Rusty Someone, Aiden Mayes, Josh & Bex.
Curated by Craig Milton of "An Evening In The Valley" this special evening will be unforgettable. Seating is limited so book early1