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Ryga Festival

Summerland's Arts Festival, 

Inspired by George Ryga

Rita Joe 50: A Re-Think

This event is a public conversation to mark the 50th anniversary of
George Ryga’s play, The Ecstasy of Rita Joe

2017 marks not only the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation, but also the 50th anniversary of the premiere of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, a play by George Ryga that changed the history of Canadian theatre and launched a new cultural dialogue among Canadians about First Nations. The play was written in Summerland, where the Ryga Festival now celebrates George Ryga's legacy. 

RITA JOE 50: A RE-THINK brings together a diverse group of artists and community leaders to discuss not just the historical context and impact of The Ecstasy of Rita Joe, but also the role of the political artist in framing contemporary debate on issues of inequality and social justice.

The Ecstasy of Rita Joe tells the story of Rita Joe, a young First Nations woman who, after Chief Dan George in "The Ecstasy of Rita Joe" Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, and Talonbooks cover.Chief Dan George in "The Ecstasy of Rita Joe" Vancouver Playhouse Theatre, and Talonbooks cover.leaving her reserve, struggles with life in the city and is brutally raped and murdered there. The play was commissioned for Canada’s Centennial and produced at the Vancouver Playhouse in November, 1967. From a small news clipping George Ryga created a powerful drama that shook and stunned audiences with its poetry and polemics. For the first time the production of a new Canadian play, that dealt with real social problems, sold out every seat in a major theatre.

A great deal has changed in the past fifty years: plays by Canadians about Canadian society are more plentiful and there are many renowned First Nations playwrights. George Ryga was at the forefront of the dialogue that fostered the growth of the current atmosphere of reconciliation and recovering the truth. But there is more that we need to do: indigenous women are still missing and murdered, and suicide is endemic in too many communities. 
The public is welcome to attend.

Thursday, August 31, 10:30 am to 1 pm at the Summerland Waterfront Resort, 13011 Lakeshore Dr S, Summerland, BC. 

... following the official opening of the Festival at the Summerland Arts Centre at 9:00 am.