COLUMN: Workshops featured at arts festival

The Marginal Arts Festival is inspired by George Ryga, a playwright and writer who called Summerland home until his death in the late 1980s

Last week, I started talking about the Marginal Arts Festival, the new arts festival coming to Summerland at the end of the month and I’m going to pick things up this week right where I left off.

For those who may have missed last week’s column, the Marginal Arts Festival is inspired by George Ryga, a playwright and writer who called Summerland home until his death in the late 1980s.

Last week I outlined the first batch of workshops that are being put on as part of the festival — two workshops for drama enthusiasts and one for those who wished they could sing better — and this week I’m going to talk about the remaining couple of workshops.

For those who enjoy telling stories, or who always wished they could tell better stories, Deborah William’s workshop, Your Voice, Your Story, is exactly what you’ve been looking for.

Storytelling is one of those strange things where you don’t simply need to know how to get from point A to point B as you’re talking, but you also have to make sure that you’re doing it in an interesting way — something that is much easier said than done sometimes.

For this two day workshop Williams will help participants develop a story from something that simply happened, to something that people will love to listen to for years.

You bring the story — it has to be true, about you and something that can be told in less than five minutes — and she will show you how to make it great.

Now, if you’re anything like me — someone who enjoys reading and writing non-fiction — this last workshop is the one for you.

Mark Leiren-Young will be hosting a session all about creative non-fiction.

This is a topic that is near and dear to my heart—I spent my university days studying this — and I was consistently amazed at how some of the masters of creative non-fiction could take almost any topic, even something as seemingly simple as the day and life of the typical American boy — Susan Orlean’s The American Man at Age Ten — and draw the reader in a way you’d never think possible.

Leiren-Young will help participants discover which stories are worth sharing, what the difference between sharing and over-sharing is — something that is always good to know — and even how to successfully use the “creative” aspect of creative non-fiction without diving straight into the world of fiction.

Next week I’ll talk about the rest of the events that are taking place for the Marginal Arts Festival.

There are a lot of really cool activities and concerts planned, so if you’re around from Aug. 23 through to Sept. 3, be sure to check this out.

More information can be found online at

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