The Ryga Festival returns this Labour Day weekend, 2017!!
We would like to thank you for your generous support of the inaugural year of the Marginal Arts Festival in honour of George Ryga. September 1st-3rd, 2016
If you ever visit England, you will undoubtedly want to go to Stratford-Upon-Avon. Everyone there knows that William Shakespeare was born, went to school, retired and died at Stratford. Stratford is famous because of Shakespeare’s powerful plays.
You may not know that one of Canada’s most important plays was written here in Summerland. That play was The Ecstasy of Rita Joe and its author was George Ryga.
Almost fifty years ago. Ryga wrote this play, based on a newspaper story of a young First Nations girl who walked and died on the mean streets of Vancouver. It created a sensation at the Vancouver Playhouse, and went on to deeply affect the nation when it opened Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa.
George Ryga wrote many more plays before he died here in 1987. Some plays were considered too controversial to perform, and gradually he became neglected. This famous Okanagan writer was in danger of being forgotten. By the way, Shakespeare, too, was hardly played for more than a hundred years after his death, and they often changed the endings of his plays.
This Labour Day weekend, the Ryga Festival Society is holding the Marginal Arts Festival
inspired by George Ryga. There will be concerts, jazz, poetry, variety shows, and singing,
acting, and writing workshops, and a special concert organized by none other than Linda
Beaven, of Good Will Shakespeare Festival fame, who has taught many generations of
Summerland students, including the children of Norma and George Ryga.
Why is it called “Marginal”? Three reasons:
– George Ryga wrote about people who are marginalized by society Artists and other creative – People frequently work on the margins of society
– It’s kind of like a Fringe Festival!