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Reneltta Arluk

North Slave
(780) 239-9324
P.O. Box 1435
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2P1

Artist Story

When I was about 19, I went to the Centre for Indigenous Theatre in Toronto. I was never around any kind of performing arts growing up in the North so it was amazing when I realized that this is what I was meant to do. Today, I founded and operate the only professional indigenous theatre company in the NWT.

We are such a small population in the North that if we don’t create the art, then the art gets created for us. We need to represent who we are as people. I really believe in our stories and that we need to keep them with us and create new ones. I also do theatre and writing for political reasons. Theatre is my chosen expression of these reasons and poetry helps encapsulate the journey.

My work is northern based from an indigenous perspective. There is no shortage of expression and what needs to be told. I encourage people to have a presence and help them tell our stories with my youth outreach (What’s Your Story?); stories that could be from the perspective of a single mother (TUMIT - play) or about climate change (Anticipation – Performance Art) or a journey (I Count Myself Among Them – Radio Drama). I want to explore these stories, and more. To share them with each other and others.

Artist Bio: 

Reneltta is of Inuvialuit, Gwich’in and Chipewyan-Cree descent originally from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories.

For over ten years Reneltta has been a part of or initiated the creation of Aboriginal Theatre across various parts of Canada and overseas.  Reneltta's expertise is exploring the techniques of incorporating personal stories into an ensemble. In 2005, she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts – Acting degree from the University of Alberta. She became the first Aboriginal woman as well as the first Inuk to graduate from that program.

In 2009, Reneltta produced her first play, TUMIT, under her theatre company, Akpik Theatre. From there Reneltta adapted and directed northern Dogrib author Richard Van Camp’s I Count Myself Among short story into a script for radio in collaboration with Travis Mercredi of Outland Sound Design. It featured a cast of eleven Aboriginal performers from across Canada and Yellowknife, NT of various ages. Reneltta is currently in the process of writing her next play about Tookoolito, guide and friend to Charles Francis Hall.

Reneltta is fortunate to continually work as an Actor/Storyteller/Playwright/Producer throughout Canada and Internationally.  As her mother says, “keep your culture alive.”  Reneltta plans on doing that for a very long time.

Last Updated: February 22, 2016

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