The 2015/16 season is Ian's tenth season with Pacific Opera Victoria. In addition to his role as Director of Artistic Administration for the company, he is designing the costumes for the production of a version of Mary's Wedding to be toured to southern Vancouver Island schools in November 2015. Ian was the set and costume designer for the 2011 world première of Mary's Wedding – his first mainstage opera design. This was followed by set designs for POV's 2014 production of Ariadne auf Naxos, and for the POV/Victoria Symphony co-production of South Pacific in Concert in November 2013.
Ian's designs have played at a number of Canadian stages including the Belfry Theatre, Arts Club Theatre, the Vancouver Playhouse, Alberta Theatre Projects, Theatre Calgary, Canadian Stage, Neptune Theatre and the Manitoba Theatre Centre. He studied theatre production and design at Ryerson and the Banff Centre for the Arts.
Ian Rye is one of those local artists whose work we all know, but probably don't know we know. ... if you've been to the Belfry [Theatre] at all over the past few years, odds are good you've seen at least some of his many memorable sets standing there behind the actors: Corker, Flying Blind, Garage Sale, Ingenious Speculations, Sylvia, Sincerely A Friend, Ethan Claymore . . . if there's a room on stage you'd like to take home with you, odds are good Ian Rye designed it.
John Threlfall, The Threl-file, 2005
Based on a simple three-level design, Ryes's set manages to evoke the prairies, rolling seas and muddy trenches all at once, and effectively spreads the cast up and out where they can stand in stark contrast to Alan Brodie's vivid lighting. And the moments where design and light fuse – an all-too-brief shipboard canopy of stars and moon, a wash of ruby light flooding across gently flooding snow, or a sickly twisting cloud of poisonous gas (“Hisses of death . . . our men drowned in their own lungs,” they sing) – are truly worth the price of admission alone. Rye's earth-tone palate of set and costumes also offers stark opportunities for the scarlet splash of a Union Jack – or blood – or the plain white gown that allows Mary to double as both fated bride and the fabled Angel of Mons, all gorgeously illuminated by Brodie's atmospheric, evocative design.
John Threlfall, Culture Vulture, review of Mary's Wedding