Since the early 80’s Renae has created art. She works individually and collectively on Indigenous stories with specific cultural practices that shapes the music, live productions and video creations she has made.
“It’s about understanding the specific languages and practices of oral traditions. It starts with deep listening and through that, say in theatre, the community claims the space to tell this story. Its about the theatre construct and the specific cultural practices of storytelling, mixed with the passion of all the individuals involved. This collaborative process breaths and signals a deeper understanding of the story to claiming your voice within it.”
These productions includes musically directing the Secwepemc community play, Tuwitames, in 2014. Later that year, she was music director with Caravan Farm Theatre’s winter show in the 2014/15 season, Contest of the Winds. In this theatre production, Renae sat down with both Secwepemc and Okanagan language speakers and cultural practitioners to help shape the music and the role she was to perform.
In 2017 she was Associate Director with David Diamond’s forum theatre production on Reconciliation called, šxwʔamət (sha-wah-um-it) Home. This play was shown at the Firehall theatre and later toured throughout British Columbia and parts of Alberta in 2018
In 2018 Renae worked as the Lead Writer, Director, Singer and Cultural Ambassador for the play, Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way. This play was a combination of Canadian theatre and Oral Traditional Storytelling with Indigenous cultural encounters in each place it toured. Weaving Reconciliation: Our Way, was about one family’s Residential School healing journey and how cultural practice supported them to face what they have lost. http://weaving-reconciliation-our-way.ca
In the spring of 2019 she completed a tour of the musical play, Children of God. She facilitated the talkbacks after each performance that helped Canadian audiences understand the impacts of the Canadian Residential School system on survivors. http://urbanink.ca/
She recently worked on a community theatre project called, ‘Home, Homelessness & the Culture In-between’. This 9 month theatre project culminated with 8 Indigenous women creating their stories about living in the Downtown Eastside. As well, she directed a one-act play called SRO by Brenda Prince, in November, 2019. http://urbanink.ca/sro/
Renae Directed 6 television episodes for the 3rd season of Quest Out West, an APTN production in 2019. The show’s producer and TV host, Tracey Kim Bonneau had conversations about food sovereignty with various guests and cooked a meal using Indigenous knowledge of land and water. https://aptn.ca/questoutwest/. This television production will be shown in the fall of 2020.
In music, Renae started M’Girl (with Sheila Maracle) in 2004 and has been singing, producing and creating songs ever since.
Music and traditional Indigenous art forms is about calling forth our ancestors and their teachings in looking after the lands, water, family and community. All people need to understand that song forms in the shape of chants and vocalables – in what M’Girl does – is in recognition of this law; Be grateful, listen deeply, and respect in your humility, the love for lands, water, family and community. The M’Girl collective is about that.
kitohcikêwin ᑭᑐᐦᒋᑫᐃᐧᐣ Music is sâkihitowask ᓵᑭᐦᐃᑐᐊᐧᐢᐠ love medicine