The Festival

The Ryga Festival Society is a registered charitable society, with the aim to follow George Ryga’s inspiration and foster creativity and creative expression in any art form. Most of Ryga’s plays deal with social issues, including “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe.” There was always music, discussion, and a lively exchange of ideas in the Ryga family home, and the Ryga family always welcomed visitors from near and far to their home surrounded by orchards in Summerland. Inspired by this, the Ryga Festival includes storytelling, singing, creative writing, acting, playwriting, and more.

This year, we’re exploring agricultural stories, stories of “weathering the storm,” how music can inspire us in challenging times; we’re celebrating R &B music from Celeigh Cardinal and soaring melodies from Catherine MacLellan; experiencing new plays, poetry and non-fiction writing from local playwrights, writers and internationally renowned authors, and more. With so much to enjoy, we’re ensuring as many people as possible are able to attend with our Pay-What-You-Choose pricing and multi-ticket discounts. We look forward to sharing the arts with you here in Summerland - Please take care and we’ll see you soon.

Heather

Heather Davies

Artistic Director

Heather was appointed artistic director of the Ryga Arts Festival in 2017. Born in Winnipeg, she trained as a dancer, singer, actor and musician before moving to the UK. Heather spent 18 years in Britain, studying, acting and directing, including three years as a resident director with the Royal Shakespeare Company, performing in UK regional theatre, tours and London’s West End. She has directed for numerous theatres and festivals in the UK, Canada, USA and Germany. She also writes and enjoys creating theatre adaptations including Night Desk by George Ryga (staged reading, SpringWorks Stratford, ON), Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, (Theatre Northwest, Prince George) and Judith by Aritha Van Herk (Blyth Festival, Blyth ON). Current theatre projects include Silverfish, a trilogy of plays exploring the themes of community and migration. For Heather’s full biography and credits, please visit www.heatherdavies.com.

Trista Bassett

General Manager

As an artist, musician and performer, Trista was thrilled to be invited to join the Ryga Arts Festival team as Festival Administrator in 2021. She has since been promoted to General Manager and looks forward to a fantastic year ahead. Trista brings to the festival a deep love of the arts and years of experience as the previous Executive Director of Gallery Vertigo in Vernon. She would like to thank the Summerland and Okanagan communities for continuing to support this amazing and unique festival.

Board of Directors
& Advisory Council

Over the past several years, the Ryga Festival Society has brought together a distinguished group of Canadians to form its Advisory Council. Members include Artists, patrons and administrators, from the Arts, business and around the culture. We're proud to have a well-rounded representation of viewpoints, to help guide our festival.

Board of Directors

Cal Meiklejohn
President
Michael Dorn Barnholden
Vice-President
Trista Bassett
General Manager
Jan Schumacher
Secretary
Jennifer Cockrall-King
Treasurer
Caroline McKay
Member-at-Large
Cain Critchlow
Member-at-Large
Donna Wong-Juliani
Member-at-Large
Heather Davies
Artistic Director

Advisory Council

Peter Hay
Chair
Dorthea Atwater
Advisor
Ann Mortifee
Advisor
Victor Davies
Advisor
Gina Payzant
Advisor
Don Rubin
Advisor
Tanya Ryga
Advisor

Funders, Sponsors & Partners

We gratefully acknowledge the help and support of all our members in making the Ryga Arts Festival possible.

Funders

Sponsors

Community Partners