“Ecstasy of Rita Joe” – important BC theatre work opens at Firehall Arts Centre Nov 21

The Ecstasy of Rita Joe is one of Canada's most important works according to the Literary Review of Canada's 100: Canada's Most Important Books.

For the past two years, in my role with the “Save Joy Kogawa House
Committee” my paths have crossed with connections to “The Ecstasy of
Rita Joe” because:

  • We have talked about George Ryga House in the Okanagan as a writer's in residence program,
  • Joy
    Coghill (who as Artistic Director, produced EoRJ), did a reading for
    our awareness fundraising event
    Joy of Canadian Words: April 25th fundraiser for Kogawa House
    – where we
    asked actors to read from one of the Literary Review of Canada's “100 Most Important Canadian books”
  • TLC
    – The Land Conservancy of BC invited Anne Mortifee to a
    “friend-raising” event in Burnaby because Anne is working with TLC on
    Cortes Island for a special project
  • Last week at the opening night for the play “Gravity”
    – the niece of Chief Dan George gave a First Nations welcome and sang a

Here is the press release for Ecstasy of Rita Joe:



The Ecstasy of Rita Joe
By George Ryga
Celebrating their 25th Anniversary season, the Firehall Arts
is excited to present the beloved Canadian classic, The
Ecstasy of Rita Joe
by acclaimed author George Ryga with previews
November 17 – 20, and opening on November 21 through December 8, 2007.


The Ecstasy of Rita Joe
is an important piece of modern Canadian
theatre, as it was the first work that addressed issues relating to
Aboriginal peoples; was mounted on stage and taken seriously.
The play recounts the story of a young Aboriginal woman who moves to the
city but finds she has no place with either the white man or with her own
people.   But who is the villain?  What is the root of the
problem?  The violence of the white culture or the patriarchy of
Native culture, or both?  The play is a tragic story told in a
combination of song and montages. Forty years later, Ryga’s play is as
compelling and powerful as ever and remains a play for all peoples.
The production’s stellar cast includes well known actor William B. Davis
of X-Files fame playing the Magistrate, Lisa C. Ravensbergen as Rita Joe,
Kevin Loring as Jamie Paul, Byron Chief Moon as the Father, Duncan Fraser
as the Priest, Alvin Sanders as Mr. Homer and the talented singer/actor,
Tracey Power, in the folk singer role originally created by Anne
Show Times:  Tues – Thurs. 7:30pm, Fri &
Sat. 8pm Sat & Sun. 2pm matinees with a special pay-what-u-can
matinee Wed 1pm. 
Ticket prices – $14- $28
For tickets call 604-689-0926 or visit

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