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Ryga Festival

Summerland's Arts Festival, 

Inspired by George Ryga

Heather Davies, Artistic Director

Earlier this year, the Board of the Ryga Festival Society was delighted to announce the appointment of Heather Davies as the Festival's first Artistic Director.

“Heather is the ideal person to lead and grow our project, and we’re thrilled that has she agreed to come to Summerland,” said Peter Hay, president of the Ryga Festival Society. “She has worked in small and large communities, with local groups and major professional festivals in Stratford, Ontario and in the UK., developing teaching and leadership skills in the arts that are particularly valuable to us. Add to that Heather’s proven commitment and passion for George Ryga’s work and values, and she’s absolutely the perfect fit for the Ryga Festival.”

Heather Davies was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba and grew up in Toronto, Ontario. She trained as a dancer, singer, actor and musician and  worked professionally from an early age. Heather spent 18 years in Britain, studying,  acting and directing,  including three years as a resident director with the Royal Shakespeare Company.  She returned to Canada in 2007 to attend the MFA- Theatre program at York University, graduating in April 2009. From September 2009 to February 2011 she was the Artistic Associate at The Grand Theatre in London Ontario. She has directed at theatres across Canada, the UK and Germany including the Royal Shakespeare Company, The English Theatre Frankfurt, Theatre Northwest, Persephone, The Watermill Theatre, New Victoria Theatre and most recently she returned to The Grand in London, ON, to direct the Canadian musical, Colours in the Storm, about the life and mysterious death of painter Tom Thompson.

“I’m immensely happy and honoured to be joining the Ryga Festival as the incoming Artistic Director,” Heather Davies said of her appointment. “ My interest in George Ryga began with reading The Ecstasy of Rita Joe many years ago, and I have been working on a stage adaptation of his early novel, called Night Desk. His work has continued to inform my work, and his vision of what art must achieve for a community or a nation, has been an inspiration. I very much believe in a multidisciplinary approach that brings professionals to involve the whole community in the arts at the grassroots, and I am very excited by the potential of the Ryga Festival to focus each year the creative energies of the Okanagan to throw light on current social and cultural issues in the spirit of George Ryga.”