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Penticton  

Ryga fest ready to roll

A wide-ranging annual arts festival is coming back to Summerland next week, offering five days celebrating artistic endeavours in the Okanagan. 

The Ryga Festival, named after noted deceased Canadian playwright who wrote in Summerland George Ryga, began last year as an updated version of the Marginal Arts Festival. 

"It's going to be a jam-packed five days," said artistic director Heather Davies. "We have a mixture of professional concerts and theatre events, and community events that include spoken word, theatre, music, creative workshops and author readings."

Starting Aug. 29, attendees can start in the morning and go through the evening, experiencing events all day. 

Davies said highlights will include Juno-award-winning musician Stephen Fearing on Sept. 1, and a special premier performance of an operatic version of one of Ryga's most famous plays, "The Ecstasy of Rita Joe," on Aug. 31. 

"We're bringing in singers from across the country to do a concert version. I think that will be a very special evening," Davies said. "We have four singers from the Okanagan, and five from across the country. "It's a really wonderful thing that we're getting a concert preview before it's even getting a world premier."

And to showcase just how diverse this festival is, Davies also pointed out Thursday evening's featured event.

"For something totally different, we have an evening of spoken word and storytelling, and those are all artists from the Okanagan," Davies said. "And that's one of the ways we celebrate creativity in our community."

The main shows are ticketed, which can be purchased ahead of time here, and take place at various venues like the Summerland Arts Centre and Summerland arena. But throughout the day there are also plenty of free events, like art shows, readings from authors, a symposium about filmmaking and more. 

"We really want people to feel that they can come and enjoy themselves and have lots of different experiences, and there's lots of it that's affordable, as well as our main evening events," Davies said. 

For a full schedule of events from Aug. 29 to Sept. 2, activities and their locations, click here.



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