PTE/MAP Playwrights Unit

Supporting the artists that create the plays

Prairie Theatre Exchange has always been, and continues to strive to be, a “home” for theatre artists – a place where new ideas can be explored, and creativity can be supported and encouraged.

In 2007, led by artistic director Bob Metcalfe, PTE formed a Playwrights Unit. PTE became a home for these playwrights, setting aside an office dedicated to them and their work where they can find a quiet place to work, or to think. PTE also hosts the feedback meetings, provides readings and workshops when appropriate, acts as an advocate for the members’ work, and, most importantly, provides access to all the resources at PTE, from printing and photocopying to advice from the Managing Director on grant-writing.

In November of 2018, current PTE artistic director Thomas Morgan Jones announced the creation of the PTE Emerging Playwrights Unit, in partnership with Manitoba Association of Playwrights (MAP) and their Executive Director Brian Drader. This relationship with MAP and these new playwrights built on the principals of the first unit, with the goal of helping to develop these playwrights’ voices and stories. 

In 2023, the unit was renamed the PTE/MAP playwrights unit to honour the collaborative nature of the relationship between our two organizations and the support we are both offering the participating playwrights.

Because the playwrights in our units are not confined to writing only for PTE, they have seen a number of plays produced on other stages here in Winnipeg and across the country. PTE feels that this is a win-win situation – our community’s playwrights are given the opportunity to pursue their craft with encouragement and support, and PTE is able to more fully realize our goal to foster the creation of theatre and to nurture theatre artists.

We are a contemporary theatre company focused on developing new plays and serving as a home for playwrights. As such, we are deeply grateful to these playwrights for their trust in us and are honoured to have them as a part of our company.

Supported by the Richardson Foundation

We are proud to introduce the current members of the
PTE/MAP Playwrights Unit:

Ben Townsley

Ben Townsley is a creator, performer and singer with a love of language, music and the absurd. Ben is a big believer in the idea of “accessibly deep theatre” and creates work that is both fun and raucous, as well as intricate and heartfelt. He acts as the lead playwright of the award winning theatre company, Walk&Talk Theatre. He has been writing for Walk&Talk since 2016 with no signs of slowing down, receiving critical acclaim for The Ballad of Johnny Boy (Winner of the Harry Rintoul Award for Best New Manitoba Play, 2018) and other award nominated works, “KING” (2017) and The Headliners (2019).

2020 saw the creation and production of his contemporary radio play, Blink, and notable 2022 achievements include the early stages of a new audio piece and the final phases of his upcoming work, End of the Line.