A Brief History

2012 - 2021

April 2012
At the conclusion of the 2011/12 season, PTE's total number of productions stands at 310 over its history.  (139 of these were new plays.)

2012 September
The official name of the education program at PTE is changed to PTE Theatre and Film School, to reflect an increasing roster of film and TV acting classes.

2012 October
PTE opens its 40th anniversary season with The Brink, by Ellen Peterson of the PTE Playwrights Unit -- the 140th world premiere in the company’s history.

2012, October 29
Robert Metcalfe is presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Honourable Joyce Bateman, M.P. for Winnipeg South Centre in recognition of “his outreach to the community with made-in-Manitoba plays and his valuable contributions to Winnipeg’s theatre and performing arts community, particularly as Artistic Director of PTE.”

2013 May
The 10th annual Carol Shields Festival of New Works continues to bring together not only theatre companies, but dance companies, filmmakers, visual artists, musicians and singer-songwriters every year to celebrate the act of creating new work.

2013 November
Robert Metcalfe is honoured with the Bra D'Or (Golden Bra) award, given annually by the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s Women’s Caucus. “Robert Metcalfe is being recognized for his support of female playwrights.  He has produced 15 plays by women playwrights in the last 6 years – not because they were written by women, but because he saw them as good plays that should be brought to audiences,” says Robin Sokoloski, Executive Director of Playwrights Guild of Canada.

2016 - January
General Manager Cherry Karpyshin retires after 50 years in theatre, 34 at Prairie Theatre Exchange and 23 as the General Manager. Tracey Loewen takes on the role of General Manager, after 11 years on staff as PTE's Accountant.

2017 - January
PTE partnered with Théâtre Cercle Molière to present The Flats, commissioned by the two theatres from Ginny Collins, a member of the PTE Playwrights Unit. With a bilingual cast, directed by Bob Metcalfe, The Flats ran in English at PTE from January 25 - February 12, 2017, and then in French at Théâtre Cercle Molière from March 2-18.

2017 - October
Robert Metcalfe announces that, after 15 seasons as Artistic Director, he will be stepping down at the end of the 2017-18 season.

2018 - February
Thomas Morgan Jones is announced as the new Artistic Director, beginning in July 2018

2018 - April & May
Thanks to additional funding from the Canada Council, PTE adds two "Bonus Series" shows, performed on the second stage, the Colin Jackson Studio Theatre. For the 2018-19 season, programming will include a full series of second stage programming, called Leap Series.

2019 - November
PTE, in partnership with Manitoba Association of Playwrights, establishes an additional Playwrights Unit for emerging playwrights. Inaugural members are Wren Brian, Kristian Jordan, Frances Koncan, Jo MacDonald, Alissa Watson and Elio Zarrillo.

2020 - March - December
The global COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of the world premiere production By Grand Central Station, a Heavy Bell production, after only five performances and the cancellation of The Gingerbread Girl by Sharon Bajer. As well, the provincial tour of The Paperbag Princess ended early, as did the run of our co-production of The Wedding Party in Vancouver. A planned national tour of Ghost Light was cancelled.

During a summer and fall of both a pandemic and global calls for social justice and inclusion, PTE began meaningful work of developing a path forward with anti-racism commitments and affirmations of what we want the company to be as we move to the future.

In spring 2021, PTE produced the first full-length film productions in our history: Hannah Moscovitch's Post-Democracy and VOICE by Ismaila Alfa - both produced under strict pandemic protocols, which included masks on all involved, including the actors (until actual filming) and staging that kept actors at a distance from each other. Both, as well as the short film Katharsis by Yvette Nolan offered for free in fall, 2021, went on to be presented across the country and internationally.

The theatre remained shuttered for live performances for the 2020-2021 season.

2021 - November
PTE celebrated a return to live theatre after almost two years without an audience with the premiere of The War Being Waged by Darla Contois. The film version of the production offered the opportunity for PTE's work to be presented across the company and the globe.

Our Mandate, Vision & Values

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 the lives of hundreds of thousands of people 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.

Our Mandate
• To produce and present professional live and digital productions
• To be a centre for new play development and production in the Prairies
• To be a centre for artistic professional development
• To share our productions with a local, provincial, national and international audience
• To be a home and resource to artists, supporting experimentation, and opportunity
• To embrace and integrate principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, decolonization,
anti-racism, anti-oppression, accessibility, and social justice into operations
both artistic and administrative

Our Vision
The vision for Prairie Theatre Exchange is to be vital, relevant, and responsive. We strive to be a centre for innovation in theatre and performance practice: a home for interdisciplinary and diverse works. We are a home for artists from the Prairies (Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta) and beyond. We prioritize professional development for artists in the Prairies. We are a contemporary professional theatre company which reflects the ever-evolving communities and audiences we serve with artistry, confidence and heart.

    Our Values

    The plays we produce and the work we do are expressions of our priorities. The way we create and present these plays exemplifies the ethics, philosophy and guiding principles of the company.

    It is essential that our theatre be:
    • Safe
    • Accountable
    • Equitable
    • Accessible
    • Respectful
    • Truthful
    • Inspired
    • Provocative
    • Artistically rich
    • Generous
    • Responsible
    • Inter-cultural
    • Inter-sectional
    • Inter-disciplinary