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 Liam Zarrillo.

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.