A Brief History

2002 - 2011

2004 May
The inaugural Carol Shields Festival of New Works is launched, featuring staged readings of 21 new plays by 19 Canadian playwrights, most of whom are local.

2007 March
The Playwrights Unit is established with seven local playwrights, both experienced and emerging, who will use PTE as a base and resource while they work on current projects. As of the 2017-18 season, the current roster of new and established playwrights is comprised of Joseph AragonSharon BajerRick ChafeGinny CollinsTricia CooperJames DurhamDebbie PattersonEllen PetersonMarc Prescott and Ian Ross.  As of March, 2018, PTE has given professional productions to seven new plays that were developed within the Playwrights’ Unit (Sharon Bajer, Burnin’ Love – March, 2011; Rick Chafe, The Secret Mask – November, 2011; Ellen Peterson, The Brink, October 2012; Tricia Cooper, Social Studies, November 2013; Rick Chafe, Marriage: A Demolition in Two Acts, March 2016; Ginny Collins, The Flats, January 2017; Joseph Aragon, How the Heavens Go, March 2018). Other new scripts developed by the members of the Playwrights Unit during the past few years have been produced across the country, including a number of Short Shots – ten minute plays specially commissioned by PTE for the Carol Shields Festival.

2007 November
On November 8, 2007, PTE marks its 35th year by recognizing the extraordinary contributions of The Honourable Charles R. Huband with a special fundraising dinner, establishing the Charles R. Huband Legacy Fund in the Prairie Theatre Exchange Foundation Trust. Mr. Huband, a Life Member of the PTE Board of Directors, was one of the driving forces in the creation of PTE.

2008 January
Winnipeg playwright Bruce McManus premieres his sixth new play for PTE, All Restaurant Fires are Arson, which is the 132nd new play since PTE’s inception.

2011 January
On January 13, 2011 PTE launches its two-phase Capital Campaign with a goal of $2.2 million.   On November 8, 2012  PTE announces that it has reached its Capital Campaign goal of $2.5 million.  With the completion of Phase 1 of the capital project in the summer of 2011, PTE is able to renovate the lobby, construct  a new lounge and upgrade washrooms.  The main theatre also receives new carpeting, reupholstered seats and fresh paint. The second phase, over the summer of 2012, sees the completion of a new Board Room, updated offices, the completion of a new film studio in the “Annex” portion of the facility, complete with editing suite, and a new space for the Playwrights Unit that includes a library of Canadian plays, workstations and meeting area.

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.