Sylvan Lake’s Theatre Scene is Thriving

Sylvan Lake's Theatre Scene is Thriving

Performances drawing visitors from around Alberta

Sylvan Lake Theatre is giving visitors a new reason to visit this summer. From the immersive theatre trail experience to improv nights, there is something for residents and visitors alike.

Sylvan Lake has long been known for its’ beaches, but theatre and cultural events have always been a missing piece. Formed two years ago, Sylvan Lake Theatre has been the perfect fit.

“We aren’t even two years old, and we’ve done 85 events with more to come,” said Tanya Ryga, Sylvan Lake Theatre Artistic Director. “We are planning more original plays, acting workshops, playwriting classes, and storytelling circles.

Ryga, a retired Red Deer College theatre instructor, started the theatre group after seeing that Sylvan Lake was “hungry” for more cultural events. The group’s signature event, the Theatre Trail was welcomed with open arms and sold out performances.

“Theatre is a draw for tourist towns and the first year we started, we didn’t have a hall suitable for theatre, so the Theatre Trail was born. Our first event was sold out before opening day,” Ryga said.  “We had people coming from all over the province.”

The Theatre Trail is an immersive theatre experience where storytellers lead the audience on the “trail” to surprise theatre locations, sharing stories along the way. The journey lasts about 2 hours with original plays created by playwrights, actors and directors and performed in “pop-up” theatre locations. This combination of comedy, drama and storytelling has become an iconic Sylvan Lake event.


Sylvan Lake Theatre offers a variety of exciting events

The plays are written specifically for what might happen in the shops and businesses where they take place. It’s an adventure for audiences and thespians alike with the next Theatre Trail event planned for the fall of 2024.

“People really loved the idea of being outside and walking into different shops and spaces to see something very unique and entertaining,” Ryga said. “We are also offering a family friendly Theatre Trail on the Sundays this year -tailored for young audiences.”

Sylvan Lake itself draws visitors from across the country and Sylvan Lake Theatre is bringing a new kind of guest. According to Tanya, many audience members come for the entertainment but end up delighted by the town itself.

“Many of them spend time in Sylvan Lake before or after our presentations, walking along the beach or having lunch. We polled our audience and at least 40 percent were taking advantage of Sylvan Lake’s other offerings,” added Ryga.

This summer Sylvan Lake Theatre is offering a host of exciting events such as actor training classes, a playwriting lab,  and a week-long Drama Camp for kids aged 10-13.  Monthly improv shows by Red Deer’s Improv Jelly at Snake Lake Brewing Company serve as another creative venture – which often sell-out.

“The town is clearly ready for more cultural events, judging by the buy-in from audiences,” Tanya said. “Theatre Tourism is a way to go for Sylvan Lake.”

For more information about Sylvan Lake Theatre, please email or call 403-318-1380.