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Full Schedule

The 2018 Festival
Wednesday, August 29

Opening Ceremony

Time: 9:00am – 10:00am

Come celebrate with us!

Join us for morning coffee as we officially kick off the Festival with special guests and not too many speeches, in this informal setting. 

Venue

Summerland Arts Centre

Event Type: Ceremony
Fee: Free

Tuesday, August 28

Inspired By

Time: 7:00pm

An intriguing art exhibit at the Summerland Art Gallery called “Inspired By” will take place during the Ryga Festival. Okanagan artists and writers have been challenged to create a new work of art or writing based on an anonymous work of art or writing they’ve been given.

Over 70 new works will be displayed on opening night of the exhibit, Tuesday, August 28, when all the matched artists will find out whose works they’ve been “inspired by.” This unique show runs through the Festival into early September.

Venue

Summerland Art Gallery

Event Type: Gallery Exhibit
Admission: Free

Documentary Short Film Wednesday, August 29

Just a Ploughboy

Time: 12:00pm

You are invited to a special screening of a new documentary about George Ryga’s early life in Richmond Park, Athabasca, Alberta, by archivist and filmmaker, Gina Payzant.

This short documentary includes never before seen interviews and archival material that shows how Ryga was influenced by his experiences working on his family’s farm and getting to know his neighbours, including First Nations workers.  

“I realized we had some new stories to offer Canada, because of course George Ryga’s impact is global. It’s international,” says Payzant”

 

Venue

Summerland Waterfront Resort

Event Type: Documentary Screening
Admission: Free

Wednesday, August 29

Mavericks & Movies

Time: 10:30am – 12:00pm

The Ryga Festival invites the creative community to participate in a discussion of the challenges and opportunities that face local filmmakers in the Okanagan.
 
There are many passionate moviemakers and maverick artists who live here, drawing inspiration from local stories and the terrain, how are they finding the paths to self-expression? Is it easier or more challenging than it was for writers and filmmakers one or two generations ago?
 
George Ryga, the great Canadian playwright and author who lived in Summerland from 1963 until his death in 1987, came to national prominence when the CBC broadcast his short teleplay, Indian, and Maclean’s magazine reprinted the whole script the week before it was broadcast.  But while Ryga’s novels, poems and plays are still accessible in print, his many contributions to radio and television are much less so; a number of his screenplays remain in the archives unproduced. And his voice, calling for Canadian content and local expression in all our cultural industries, still echoes in a wilderness.
 
But Ryga would have welcomed the recent trends in filmmaking and content creation that have reduced many technological barriers and increased access to audiences. And he would ask the same questions: What have you got to say? What is a fresh way to say it? And why does it matter?
 
If these questions interest you, we invite you in the spirit of George Ryga, to come and listen and express your views about the directions film is going and could go in the Okanagan valley. 
Venue

Summerland Waterfront Resort

Event Type: Symposium
Fee: Free

Wed, Aug 29 & Fri, August 31 2-5 pm

Telling Stories

Time: 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Wed & Fri

“A story is a world; a storyteller is a world maker,” according to cutting-edge playwright and self-described agitator, and Governor-General’s Award nominee, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard. She has won several top theatre awards and is artistic director of New Harlem Productions in Toronto.  Currently she is writing an ambitious series of plays set in each of the 54 countries of Africa.

This workshop will focus on finding your style on creative material, amplifying text through embodiment, reading spoken word and more! (Pre-registration required.)

Venue

IOOF Hall

Event Type: Workshop
Fee: $75.00
Includes both sessions.

Wednesday, August 29

Blue City Trio

Time: 6:30 pm

Blue City Trio returns to Summerland for a magical medley of musical styles. Based in Kelowna, the Trio has been entertaining audiences throughout the Okanagan for fifteen years with a range that covers rock and pop, jazz, Latin, country and world music.  Join us in Memorial Park to tap your feet with Sergei Ryga on piano, Tom Esson on guitar and vocals and Dan Marcelino on vocals and drums for a festive summer evening, suitable for all ages.

Venue

Summerland's Memorial Park

Event Type: Music
Admission: Free

Thursday, August 30

From Stage to Screen

Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm

There are some intriguing shifts that actors must know when they move from the stage to the small or big screen. You will work on a specific text exploring the different acting style needed for each medium. Whether you’ve tried acting or not, this workshop will reveal valuable tricks of the trade and enhance your skills.

With Roark Critchlow and Heather Davies.

Venue

IOOF Hall

Event Type: Workshop
Fee: $60.00
Students: $40

Thursday, August 30

Harold Rhenisch

Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Harold Rhenisch reads from his poetry and prose – and talks about his blog – okanaganokanogan.com

Poet, editor, blogger, Harold Rhenisch has written more than twenty books in different media. Born near Cawston, BC, he grew up working in the orchards of the Okanagan and Similkameen valleys, and has drawn lifelong inspiration from his native terroir.

In all his prolific writing, tireless blogs and breathtaking images, Rhenisch has been striving “to create an authentic literature for the silent rural parts of Canada, to place their images and dialects on an equal footing with those of the modern urban world.”

Harold Rhenisch was the 2007 recipient of the annual George Ryga Prize for Social Awareness.

Venue

Summerland Library

Event Type: Author Reading
Admission: Free

Thursday, August 30

"One More For The Road" Reading

Time: 3:00 pm

George Ryga wrote the one-person show One More For the Road for long-time friend Dick Clements. We see and hear the spoken and sung ramblings of Everyman figure Chester C. Sharpe – which Ryga biographer James Hoffman calls “a composite of Clements and Ryga.”

Performed by Glen Cairns with banjo music by Tavis Weir, followed by Q&A by Dick Clements himself!

 
Venue

Summerland Arts Centre

Event Type: Performance
Admission: By Donation

Thursday, August 30

Outspoken!

Time: 7:00pm

Outspoken! a popular fixture of the Festival, provides a feast of surprising performances by local bards and visiting poets, comics and storytellers in a relaxed (and lubricated) atmosphere. Curated by prolific wordslinger Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (two-time nominee for the Governor General’s Award) and Summerland’s own master of ceremonies and talk-show host, Erick Thompson, this year’s program promises to involve more performers than ever before.

Venue

Memorial Arena - Banquet Room

Event Type: Spoken-Word
In advance: $12.00
At the door: $15.00
Students need ID.

Friday, August 31

Bev Sellars

Time: 1:00pm

Bev Sellars reads from and discusses her book, PRICE PAID: the Fight for First Nations Survival.

Winner of the 2014 George Ryga Book Award for Social Awareness for her best-selling book, They Called Me Number One: Secrets and Survival at an Indian Residential School, Bev Sellars is a bold advocate for her community on issues including racism and residential schools as well as the environmental and social consequences of resource exploitation in her region. 

Joining Bev Sellars  for this talk her husband, Hemas Kla-Lee-Lee-Kla, Hereditary Chief Bill Wilson.

Please join us at the Summerland Library for this very special event.

At the Summerland Library – The Meeting Place; Free.

Venue

Summerland Library

Event Type: Author Reading
Admission: Free

Friday, August 31

The Ecstasy of Rita Joe

Time: 7:00 pm

In 1967 George Ryga’s searing drama, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe premiered at the Vancouver Playhouse and signalled a new era for Canadian theatre. His wrenching exploration of the Indigenous experience caused a national examination that continues to this day.  Ryga wrote his masterpiece in Summerland and the play has been performed across Canada and around the world. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet created a ballet from this play that also toured around the world.

Now, after many years of work, Canadian composer and Order of Canada recipient Victor Davies has composed an opera based on The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.  The Ryga Festival is honoured to present a concert version, created especially for the Ryga Festival, featuring a cast of rising stars from across Canada.

This captivating performance will take place at Summerland’s Centre Stage Theatre on Friday, August 31st at 7 p.m.  Ryga Festival audiences have an exclusive chance to experience this unique event. Do not miss it!

Venue

Centre Stage Theatre

Event Type: Music
In advance: $35.00
At the door: $40.00

Saturday, September 1

Traditional BC Music Workshop

Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm

Traditional music played a large role in the lives of early pioneers and still exercises a powerful influence. You will hear the fascinating history behind some BC songs, and their impact on working lives. Come and learn how you can create your own songs with traditional tunes. No experience required, but bring an instrument if you have one!

Jon Bartlett and Rika Ruebsaat are the founders of the annual Traditional Music Festival  that takes over downtown Princeton for three days each August. They have spent forty years gathering, recording and writing about ballads, sea shanties, logging and mining songs, particularly those from the BC Interior.

Venue

Summerland Arts Centre

Event Type: Workshop
Fee: $40.00

Saturday, September 1

Feast: Cookbook Writing from Dreaming to Doing

Time: 10:00am – 1:00pm

Lindsay Anderson and Dana Van Veller, a pair of writers based in Vancouver, visited every province and territory to create last year’s bestselling book FEAST: Recipes and Stories from a Canadian Road Trip. This workshop will take you behind the scenes how these two adventurous women went hunting for recipes and captured the diversity of Canadian food culture. Come and share your own recipes and food stories and you will receive practical guidance how to write about food and cooking in new and exciting ways.

Venue

Summerland Library

Event Type: Workshop
Fee: $50.00

Saturday, September 1

The Theatre Trail

Tour start times: 4:00, 4:30, 5:00

Inspired by Summerland’s own Bead Trails and Bottleneck Drive’s Wine Trail, the Ryga Festival’s Theatre Trail is a guided tour to five micro performances in Summerland’s downtown.

Your Tour Guides, all local storytellers, actors and musicians, will regale you with stories along downtown Summerland streets. You start at the Bead Trails Experience for the first performance, and then your Tour Guide will lead you to other downtown Summerland locations, which could include the Summerland Auxiliary Thrift Shop, Bill the Barber, and more – ending up at the Summerland LibraryNote: each tour group departure time is limited to 15 – buy tickets now!

Venue

Start - Bead Trails Experience

Event Type: Theatre
In advance: $12.00
At the door: $15.00
Includes all events on the trail.

Saturday, September 1

Stephen Fearing Concert

Time: 7:00pm

Spend an intimate evening with Juno Award winning musician Stephen Fearing, whose latest  album Every Soul’s a Sailor made him the Contemporary Singer of the Year at the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards. He has released ten albums as a solo artist, featuring such musical guests as Bruce Cockburn, Margo Timmons, Richard Thompson, Shawn Colvin, Sarah McLachlan, and Suzie Vinnick. As co-founder of  the popular band Blackie and the Rodeo Kings,  Stephen Fearing recorded nine more albums. Named as one of the finest songwriters in Canada, he built a national and international audience for his music, doing it old school through countless performances at intimate venues and on the concert stages of festivals and theatres across Canada, the US, and Britain.

Praised for his  “masterful guitar work from acoustic rock rhythm to elegant finger style” by Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Fearing was described as “ a king amongst minstrels”  by the Halifax Chronicle Herald.

Venue

Centre Stage Theatre

Event Type: Music
In advance: $30.00
At the door: $35.00

Sunday, September 2

Hootenanny

Time: 10:00am

We’re looking forward to building on the success of the Hootenanny, which was at the Arts Centre last year. Before we get the music started, Stephen Fearing and other special guests will begin the Sunday morning with an informal session on Folk and Roots Music.

Bring an instrument and play or sing along as we celebrate down-home entertainment and enjoy an informal gathering that will lift your spirits and activate your dancing feet!

Venue

Summerland Arts Centre

Event Type: Music
Admission: By Donation

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