It has been some time since we last posted a community update.
Usually, our updates would be presented in sections, speaking to specific work being done at the company. We will include some of that here, but this update will be more of a narrative.
It is a time of change.
Since our last update we successfully completed our 50th anniversary season - six live productions, three digital. Five of those live productions were world premieres.
Our companies in residence Bahay Perlas and UNIT productions completed a year of residency, and Echo Theatre has begun a new residency. Joseph Sevillo's RISE musical theatre training for IBPOC youth continued their education residency. And we began, in full partnership with the Manitoba Association of Playwrights, a new seven person playwrights unit.
We now have approximately fifteen active commissions at various stages of development. Playwrights are from here at home on Treaty 1 Land, Winnipeg, across Manitoba, and across the country.
Last season, the PTE Training Hub saw over 130 artists participating in free professional development workshops over three weeks. This season, just under 50 artists participated in the training. While the number of participants was smaller, the discourse, dialogue and artistry was extraordinary. We will continue The Hub in some form next season to continue providing accessible training to our artistic community.
Recently, we lost one of the founders of the company, Charles Huband. As we begin this season, we are buoyed and inspired by all that he did for PTE, and by his brilliant example.
And now to this season. We've had a wonderful beginning with the premiere of Feast by Guillermo Verdecchia. And then a beautiful run of the fundraiser Tomatoes Tried to Kill Me, But Banjos Saved My Life by Keith Alessi, a true champion of the arts. And soon we will welcome Marie Beath Badian's The Waltz from Factory Theatre in Toronto.
And…it is a time of change.
Across this continent and internationally, theatres are contending with a puzzle. Audiences have returned and are inspired, delighted, and provoked by the works on stages worldwide. That said, they have not returned (with many exceptions, of course) in the numbers they once did. The corresponding loss of revenue is, for many theatres, hugely impacting operations.
Prairie Theatre Exchange has experienced a loss of revenue of over $300,000, which could exceed $500,000 in the 2024-2025 season.
As we witness layoffs and closures of performing arts companies across the United States, Europe and now here in this country, we are in deep conversations about how to move forward in a way that is responsible, relevant, and inspiring.
It is a challenge and, also, an opportunity. One that we are meeting head on.
As we head into our next half century as a theatre company on Treaty 1 Land, we know that it is our commitments to artists, audiences and stories that will guide our actions.
It is a time of contemplation. A time of planning. A time of action.
Time is changing, and we are ready to change with it.