A Brief History

1981 - 1990

Colin Jackson returns to Manitoba Theatre Workshop as Executive Producer and serves for 11 years leading PTE in its artistic growth, community engagement and, in 1989, its very successful move to its new home in Portage Place.

The name changed to Prairie Theatre Exchange to reflect the increased focus on professional productions and the establishment of a regular theatre season, under the Artistic Direction of Gordon McCall. Adult programming was added while retaining children’s programming, drama classes and outreach programs.
1981 on
Prairie Theatre Exchange furthers its objectives in all areas and grows at a remarkable pace. With growth in all areas, need for expansion and re-housing emerges.
Kim McCaw joins PTE as the new Artistic Director and Prairie Theatre Exchange introduced subscriptions for its three-play adult season. 200 subscriptions sold.

Subscriptions top 3500.

Prairie Theatre Exchange outgrows its facilities. Announces that it will build a new home in the heart of downtown in Portage Place. Artistic Director Kim McCaw and Lifetime Board Member Charles Huband were also instrumental in the success of the move to Portage Place.

1989 March
Construction begins on the Portage Place site.

1989, October 12
The first public performance in the new Portage Place site takes place – The Village of Idiots by John Lazarus, directed by Kim McCaw. Subscriptions exceed 6,000. PTE re-dedicates itself to becoming the finest possible theatre by and for the Prairie region.

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.