The Why of It

October 13 - 15, 2020

Instructor:  Debbie Patterson

Location: Prairie Theatre Exchange

Schedule: Tuesday - Thursday, 2:00 - 5:00pm

Maximum participants:  12

Maximum auditors:  8


Artistic visioning, using art to change the world, the pursuit of truth and beauty - let's talk about why we do what we do in order to do it better.



Debbie Patterson is a Winnipeg playwright, director and actor. Trained at the National Theatre School of Canada, she is a founding member of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR), served as Theatre Ambassador for Winnipeg’s Cultural Capital year, was the Carol Shields Writer in Residence 2012 at the U of W and Playwright in Residence at Theatre Projects Manitoba in 2013/14. She served as Artistic Associate at Prairie Theatre Exchange from 2012 to 2018 and is currently a member of the PTE Playwrights Unit.

Playwriting credits include How it Ends, Sargent & Victor & Me (both for Sick + Twisted Theatre), the musicals Head (SIR) and Molotov Circus (SummerWorks). Directing credits include Becoming Dr. Ruth for Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do for Rainbow Stage, Boundary Avenue for One Trunk, Festen for PTE@PTE, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew for SIR, The Crackwalker for Sweet and Salty Collective and Saint Joan for Theatre by the River.

As a performer, some of her favourite roles have included Zoya in Molotov Circus, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, Jenny in Threepenny Opera, and Jilly in Sargent & Victor & Me. In 2016, Debbie became the first physically disabled actor to play the title role in Richard III in a professional Canadian production. Debbie is active in the dance community, collaborating on projects with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Aspirant Program and Young Lungs Dance Exchange.

She was honoured with the United Nations Platform for Action Committee’s 2014 Activist Award and the Winnipeg Arts Council Making a Mark Award in 2017. In 2018, she was shortlisted for the Gina Wilkinson Prize. She is a proud advocate for disability arts through her work as founding Artistic Director of Sick + Twisted Theatre.

She lives a wheelchair-enabled life in Winnipeg and in a cabin on the shore of Lake Winnipeg.