Ryga Festival in Summerland

950 1024 Ann Mortifee


I’m looking forward to The Ryga Festival, Summerland BC’s Performing Arts Festival, inspired by George Ryga, again this year. 

  • Participating in the panel: Rita Joe 50: A Re-Think.
  • Performing in concert: Seven is the Magic Number.
  • Leading a workshop: Everyone Can Sing.

The entire festival features 5 days of concerts, theatrical performances, workshops, readings, and special events, from August 30 through September 3. 

Ann Mortifee and Chief Dan George with Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau standing just behind them, surrounded by the cast of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa.


Rita Joe 50: A Re-Think

Thursday, August 31, 10 am to 1 pm   Summerland Waterfront Resort

The Festival opens with a public discussion about the historical significance and continuing impact of George Ryga’s ground-breaking play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, premiered by the Vancouver Playhouse fifty years ago. A diverse panel including academics, writers and theatre makers share their views how the play changed Canadian theatre and dialogue with First Nations and remains controversial to this day.Thursday, August 31, 10 am to 1 pm, following the official opening of the Festival at the Summerland Arts Centre at 9:00 a.m.

Seven Is The Magic Number – a Magical Evening with Ann Mortifee

Friday, September 1, 7.30 pm.

Witness the birth of a brand new musical work, as legendary singer Ann Mortifee takes us on an adventurous ride. She weaves a story from each of the seven decades of her life, which began in South Africa, combining each story with one of her songs. Ann will be accompanied on this journey by an amazing trio of veteran musicians: Ed Henderson (guitar), Finn Manniche (guitar and cello) and Bill Sample (keyboard).

 Link HERE for Tickets and details


Everyone Can Sing – A Workshop with Ann Mortifee

Sat, 2 September 2017 – 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM PDT

Celebrated Canadian singer Ann Mortifee offers some simple techniques to support your ability to sing with confidence and ease. “The more centred we are in our own bodies,” she says, “the more stable and resonant our voices become.”

This is a workshop for anyone who would like to have some fun while strengthening their voice. No experience required.

About Ann
Ann Mortifee’s extraordinary 4 octave voice and compelling stage presence led to years as a concert artist performing with such luminaries as Harry Belafonte and John Denver. She has sung with symphony orchestras throughout North America and Europe, written ballet scores, including the internationally acclaimed The Ecstasy of Rita Joe. She has created film scores, musicals, one woman shows and CDs, all of which led to her being honoured with the prestigious Order of Canada, and the YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, for her outstanding work in the performing and healing arts in Canada and internationally.

Space is limited. Pre-registration required. Link HERE to register.


Connect to the Ryga Festival at their website HERE.

The Ryga Festival Society’s mission is to promote the development of creative and performing arts in Summerland by organizing an annual festival honouring Summerland resident George Ryga (1932-1987), one of Canada’s greatest writers. Ryga wrote “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe,” which awakened the country to the continuing tragedy of Indigenous Peoples and is perhaps the most important play written in English Canada in the past fifty years.

The Society aims to follow Ryga’s inspiration to foster creativity in our region. For a while the Rygas had a coffeehouse in Summerland, and there was always music, discussion, and a lively exchange of ideas there and in the Ryga household. Most of George Ryga’s plays as well as “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe,” deal with social issues.

The Ryga Festival Society celebrates George Ryga in Summerland in much the same way as Stephen Leacock is honoured in Orillia, Ontario, and more recently Alice Munro is commemorated in Wingham, Ontario – small communities celebrating one of their own. The Society believes that these communities – just like Stratford and Niagara-on-the-Lake, which host the Shakespeare and Shaw festivals in Ontario – have found a way of combining culture with economic benefits. 

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Ann Mortifee

Singer Ann Mortifee is a genre unto herself. Blessed with a remarkable four-octave range and a gift for impacting hearts with her music and lyrics, her albums, concerts, full-length musicals, scores (ballet, film, opera, TV), and In Love with the Mystery book have generated national/international distinctions and awards. She is an Order of Canada Member, the country’s highest civilian honour. A world traveller, compelling storyteller, and sought-after keynote speaker for major conferences, Ann creates and facilitates inspiring arts and consciousness workshops and co-founded two foundations - for social innovation and for forestry conservation. Based in BC, Ann is the wife of the late jazz flutist, Paul Horn.

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