COLUMN: Arts festival celebrates Ryga’s legacy

There is a new festival coming to Summerland this fall and, from what I’ve seen so far, it’s shaping up to be something great.

George Ryga

George Ryga

There is a new festival coming to Summerland this fall and, from what I’ve seen so far, it’s shaping up to be something great.

The festival is called the Marginal Arts Festival and it’s an arts festival inspired by George Ryga, the well-known Canadian poet and playwright who called Summerland home.

I first started hearing about this festival a few months back and was immediately interested in what it seemed to be about.

Now that everything has come together and the festival is fast approaching, I’m really excited for this.

I had a chance to sit down and chat with the festival organizers a little bit before I sat down to write this column, and I have to say, if you’re at all interested in things like writing, singing and acting, then you’re going to want to check out this event.

The festival runs from Aug. 23 until Sept. 3, with the bulk of the events happening between Sept. 1 and 3.

Along with a series of musical performances, the Marginal Arts Festival is hosting five workshops designed to help guide people into the world of the arts.

The instructors of the workshops are working professionals (and top of their field) and they all have a connection to George Ryga, either having known him personally or through some other connection.

If you’re interested in singing, but aren’t so sure about your ability to sing — something I know I suffer from — then you’re going to want to check out Ann Mortifee’s Everyone Can Sing on Sept. 2.

This session is designed to help people become more comfortable with their voices through simple vocal exercises and easy to learn singing techniques.

You might think there’s no hope for you, but only around one person in 20 is truly tone deaf, so there’s a good chance you’re a better singer than you think.

On the other end of the performing spectrum is acting and, if that’s where your heart lies, then Heather Adam’s Building Blocks of Acting is the workshop for you.

This two day workshop takes place on Sept. 1 and 3 helps participants get a better handle on things like imagery, character and acting with honesty.

If being on stage isn’t your thing, but you love theatre, Leanna Brodie’s Other People’s Stories is for you.

This workshop takes place on Sept. 3 and looks at how to work with the various sources available to playwrights — things like historical documents, interviews, archives and photographs — and how to bring them to life on stage in a way that is not only interesting, but is downright compelling.

This workshop will help you understand how to read with a playwright’s eye and how to find the interesting moments of a work that not only work in a theatrical manner, but also help drive the themes home.

All of these workshops are open to anyone over the age of 16.

Next week, I’ll talk about the remaining couple of workshops — if you like writing they’ll be worth the wait.

For more information about the Marginal Arts Festival, visit their website at www.marginal

Douglas Paton is a Summerland writer and musician. If you know of a local arts and culture event, contact him at