Reneltta Arluk

Director of Indigenous Arts

Reneltta, of Inuvialuit, Dene, and Cree descent, originates from the Northwest Territories.  Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, these teachings provided  Reneltta with the tools to become the actor, playwright, poet, director and producer she is now.

From Marie Clement’s Copper Thunderbird at the National Arts Centre, touring with Human Cargo’s Night, the world premiere of Chantel Bilodeau’s Sila (Underground Theatre; Cambridge, MA), and Hardline Productions’ RedPatch (Vancouver, BC), Reneltta has performed in and initiated the creation of Indigenous theatre nationally and internationally for over a decade. She is committed to the development of Indigenous language inspired stories. Reneltta has worked in depth with Indigenous and minority youth on both sides of the border, which began in the North through her theatre advocacy work as a producer and facilitator.

Reneltta, under her company, Akpik Theatre, wrote, produced, and performed her first play, TUMIT. Akpik Theatre has translated and produced TUMIT in French. Productions under Akpik Theatre include a radio adaptation of Richard Van Camp’s short story, “I Count Myself Among Them”, and performance art piece, Anticipation. Reneltta’s book of poetry, Thoughts and Other Human Tendencies, published by Bookland Press have been translated into Cree and French. In cooperation with Theatre Prospero, with encouragement from the Stratford Festival’s Playwright Retreat, and support from Canada Council for the Arts, Akpik Theatre will premier a production of Reneltta’s Pawâkan Macbeth in Edmonton, AB. Pawâkan Macbeth is a Plains Cree adaptation of MacBeth inspired from working with youth at the Chief Napaeweaw Comprehensive School in Frog Lake, AB.

Reneltta’s focus on decolonization pushes boundaries using art as a tool for reconciliation. Her work provokes new interactions across all lines while remaining true to her Indigenous roots. She is the first Indigenous woman to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting degree from the University of Alberta and is an alumni of the Centre for Indigenous Theatre. She has been nominated for both a META (Montreal English Theatre Award) for Pig Girl and a Jessie (Vancouver Theatre Award) for RedPatch as an actress. Reneltta is also the first Indigenous person to direct at the Stratford Festival with the world premiere of The Breathing Hole by Governor General Award winning playwright, Colleen Murphy.