A Brief History

1972 - 1980

Manitoba Theatre School is founded and run by the Manitoba Theatre Centre.

Manitoba Theatre School is closed and the Manitoba Theatre Workshop is founded by concerned students, teachers and community members, spearheaded by Co-Founders Colin Jackson and Charles Huband.

November 24, 1972 Manitoba Theatre Workshop is incorporated. 

Colin Jackson was appointed Director of Manitoba Theatre Workshop, a position he held until 1976.  Following Colin’s departure, Deborah Baer Quinn was appointed Artistic Director of MTW.  Charles Huband was the first President of the Board of Directors.      

Manitoba Theatre Workshop officially opens its doors in the old Grain Exchange Building, at 160 Princess Street, renovated with financial support from individuals, businesses and government including an Opportunities for Youth grant. This government grant enabled the employment of a number of young people assisted by many volunteers. The objectives of Manitoba Theatre Workshop expands on those of the Manitoba Theatre School to include people of all ages and levels of sophistication.
1973 - 1981
Manitoba Theatre Workshop supports and develops creative expression in the community though its school, its outreach program and its theatre. It helps and encourages local playwrights and performers, and moves continuously towards becoming a theatre resource centre.

Our Mission

Theatre is essential to the health and growth of communities, offering insight into the human spirit. Theatre informs, educates, entertains, challenges, shocks, questions, and illuminates. Prairie Theatre Exchange (PTE) was born with these ideals in 1972, and has become a centre of excellence for contemporary theatre and drama education.

While nationally recognized, PTE is deeply rooted in community and has touched hundreds of thousands of lives in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba. Manitobans trust PTE to ensure that full voice is given to the finest artistic talent our region and our country have to offer.

The mission of Prairie Theatre Exchange is:

  • To operate a professional theatre of high calibre for the cultural enrichment of the community;
  • To support the development of theatre artists and new plays;
  • To foster theatre arts-related endeavours of others
  • To encourage appreciation of theatre
  • To provide accessible, high quality, innovative educational opportunities

Our Vision


PTE actively looks for new ways to continue to be a centre for innovation in theatre practice:  a home for interdisciplinary and diverse works that offer Winnipeg audiences something they cannot experience anywhere else.

We strive to be a home for artists from the Prairies and beyond and a theatre that entertains, challenges and provokes our audiences, inspiring their understanding of what theatre is and what it can be.

We work to become a leader in professional development for Winnipeg and Prairie artists through masterclasses and workshops.

In all these ways, we are a contemporary theatre company of the 21st century that reflects the ever-evolving communities we serve with artistry, confidence andheart.

    Our Values and Guiding Principles 

    As we move boldly towards our 50th anniversary, we are asking questions about how we can best realize our name Prairie Theatre Exchange. We are also asking questions about what it means to be a regional theatre, a theatre by and for the artists and audiences of our region. This will entail more opportunity for artistic growth, diversity of voice, content and form, in addition to PTE being a centre for artistic and cultural exchange.

    To focus our planning, we are embracing four philosophical pillars for the company:

    1. Artistic Excellence and Innovation
    2. Regional Relevance
    3. Diversity
    4. Equity

    As we program our seasons to meet these pillars, we are striving for increased diversity in the voices/playwrights on our stages to more accurately represent our community. We define diversity to be inclusive of culture, race, sexuality, ability, language, and gender.

    In striving to realize these pillars, we recognize that transparency, accountability, and integrity are required in every aspect of our organization.