Reneltta is an Inuvialuit, Cree, Dene originally from the Northwest Territories. Raised by her grandparents on the trap-line until school age, being nomadic provided Reneltta with the skills to become the multi-disciplined artist she is now. Her ambition is to continue going down the road of an artist, to keep her culture living, and believe it natural that our stories be told through the Arts.
For over ten years Reneltta has been part of or initiated the creation of Indigenous Theatre across various regions of Canada and overseas. She began as a student at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto, Ontario. While there, Reneltta explored techniques of incorporating personal story into an ensemble. While living in Whitehorse, Yukon she was an integral part of the Raven’s Tale Theatre ensemble. Raven’s Tale Theatre showcased the diversity of Yukon First Nations by telling traditional stories of the land and culture. From there Reneltta pursued acting on a more formal basis. In 2005, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting degree from the University of Alberta; becoming the first Aboriginal woman as well as the first Inuk to graduate from the reputable program.
Her training and life experience has brought her to many places since. From being part of Copper Thunderbird, the first Aboriginal play to be on the main stage at the National Arts Centre in eighteen years, to overseas where she toured northern Greece performing in Utopian Floes as part of Caravan Tall Ship Theatre's diverse cast and crew. In 2009, Reneltta co-founded the first annual Rubaboo Aboriginal Arts Festival in Edmonton, Alberta. From 2010-2014, she toured much of Canada into Iceland and Greenland with Human Cargo's northern-inspired play, Night, speaking mostly Inuktitut. Reneltta crossed the border to perform in the world premiere play, Sila, at Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts produced by Underground Railway Theatre. Recently she was the only Canadian aboard the tall ship, Antigua, sailing the Arctic waters of Svalbard, Norway with the Arctic Circle Organization as part of their annual expeditionary artist residency.
Reneltta is committed to the development of northern-based indigenous language inspired stories. From working with Innu youth as an acting coach in Sheshatshiu, Labrador on their short film Kuekuatsheu Mak Muak (Wolverine and the Loon) based in Innu to performing in a rotoscoped short film The Woman Who Came Back based on a Dogrib story partly illustrated by youth from Behchoko, NT in their language. In 2014, full-length feature film, Maina, was released into theatres. Based on a book of the same name, Maina features Reneltta in a principal role speaking Inuktitut as Aputik.
Reneltta’s desire to tell her own stories remain and in 2010 produced her first play, TUMIT, under Akpik Theatre. In November 2015, TUMIT world premiered it's French production in Montreal, Quebec. TUMIT gave her the opportunity to take her training one step further. As her mother says, “keep your culture alive, my girl.” Something she plans on doing for a very long time...
- Currently Urban Ink Productions Artist-in-Resident
- Stratford Festival's Playwright Retreat. 2015
- Arctic Circle Organization expeditionary residency in Svalbard, Norway. 2015
Boards and Committees:
In the Media:
- Globe & Mail - A New Generation of Arctic Artists Push the Boundaries of Northern Art
- Arctic Journal - A Season of Cloudberries with Reneltta Arluk
- CBC- Reconciliation: A New Generation of Aboriginal Canadians Weigh In
- Playwrights Guild of Canada - Q&A with Reneltta Arluk
- The Star - Stratford Festival 2017 Season, Reneltta Arluk to Direct New Commission, The Breathing Hole by Colleen Murphy
Photos by RedWorks Photography