Prairie Theatre Exchange was born out of the community in 1972, through the combination of a defined need and a group of volunteers determined to create the answer to that need. From its humble beginnings in a run-down building on Princess Street, PTE has grown to epitomize, for thousands of Winnipeggers, the good things in life here on the Prairies: camaraderie, self-sufficiency, strength of will, creativity and warmth of heart.
Over the years, PTE has lived up to its mandate to challenge, provoke and touch Manitobans by mirroring their realities and drawing from their experiences. People came to realize that, at PTE, they could see themselves and their neighbors on the stage in a way that had never been offered before. In the vibrant performing arts tapestry in Winnipeg, PTE fills a unique and important niche: producing works, often new, with a focus on Manitoban and Canadian artists, which speak to the "non-arts" audience as strongly as to those who have always made theatre, dance, and symphony a part of their lives.
PTE has never forgotten its roots as a provider of theatre education. Today, PTE offers selected skill-focussed classes for adults and professional development opportunities through workshops conducted by guest artists. In partnership with Winnipeg School Division, PTE's instructors visit many core-area elementary schools for workshops or bring the students into PTE's Portage Place facilities, offering an opportunity for a new outlet for expression that many children would not have been able to experience on their own.
The experience of live theatre is a powerful one, and can help to shape a child's view of their world and their own future. PTE's Theatre for Young Audiences touring program gives the powerful experience of live theatre to over 17,000 Manitobans each year. Performing in schools, as well as for community audiences throughout the province, Prairie Theatre Exchange breaks down the barriers surrounding "the arts" by bringing the arts to the audiences in their own communities.