Indigenous Artist

Ryan is a proud Nēhiyaw/Cree from Amiskwacîwâskahikan (Edmonton, Alberta) who’s family comes from The Michel Band First Nation. Ryan is an actor, producer, director, manager and event creator who has been working professionally in the Performing and Recorded Arts Industry for over 25 years.

In 2017 Ryan founded a management-production-touring company called Cunning Concepts & Creations. CC&C is currently touring the multiple Award winning production, HUFF written and performed by Cliff Cardinal. Huff was originally produced by Native Earth Performing Arts under the Artistic Direction of Ryan Cunningham (2014-2017) and was nominated for 4 DORA Award and winning 2: Outstanding Performance and Outstanding New Play.

Before establishing CC&C Ryan had the honour of serving as Artistic Director (2014 – 2017) at Native Earth Performing Arts after working for the company for 10 years as an artist and administrator. In 2009 he co-founded Alberta Aboriginal Performing Arts in Edmonton and served as it’s founding Artistic Director for 5 years. AAPA produces the annual RUBABOO International Indigenous Arts Festival: both celebrating their 10-year Anniversary this Spring (2019). Ryan has sat on the Board of Directors for the CanDance Network and IPAA (Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance) and currently sits on the Board for the ArtsCan Circle. Ryan was a founding member and producer of The Agokwe Collective which extensively toured the multiple Dora award-winning production, AGOKWE by Waawaate Fobister (Originally produced by Buddies and Bad Times Theatre).

As an actor, Ryan has performed on stage across the Country for 25 years. He regularly works in Television & Film and can be seen playing the role of Darcy Douglas in all 5 seasons of the award winning APTN series, BLACKSTONE.

Selected acting credits include:
Theatre: Oh, what a lovely War, Grand Hotel, AN OCTOROON, The Madness of King George III (The Shaw Festival). King Lear, Ecstasy of Rita Joe (National Arts Centre). Yukonstyle (Canadian Stage). Julius Caesar-Death of a King, Dreary & Izzy, Annie Mae’s Movement (Native Earth Performing Arts). Urinetown: The Musical, Vimy (Bobby Strong - Firehall Arts Centre. Western Canadian Premier-Jessie Award for Best Production).

Film & TV: I Think I Do (Hallmark), Hiding, Mixed Blessings, Blue Murder, Club Craw,l Earth: Final Conflict, They Call Me Sir, Spinning Out Of Control, Mentors.

Ryan has been nominated for the KLM Hunter Artist Award and the inaugural Johanna Metcalf Performing Arts Prize.


First Nations


Wikidata ID: Q113502017
Artsdata ID: K3-23
Last reviewed: Feb 24th, 2023