Bob Metcalfe, Artistic Director
Crossing Borders, Making Connections
I’m often asked to speak about Prairie Theatre Exchange at functions around the city, and inevitably I end up talking about a desire to contribute to the community and the country. A large part of my drive to see theatre touch the lives of as many people as it can is based on a belief that by telling stories in an intimate and honest way, the foundation of the community is strengthened. Theatre that provides a shared experience and a deeper understanding of what it is to be human can help foster tolerance. In a world where the influence of a single country is overpowering, theatre that tells stories which remind us of where we’ve been, and perhaps even suggest where we may be headed, can give a sense of who we are as individuals, as Manitobans, and as Canadians. This is one of the reasons that Prairie Theatre Exchange has always included Canadian plays, and scripts by local writers, as well as scripts from international playwrights.
In the 2017-2018 season, we have a collection of stories about crossing borders. A woman from Arizona slips her three children across the Canadian border to join a community in Bountiful, B.C. Characters cross from South Africa to Canada, and from outside of families to deep into their core. In a Canadian classic ode to love, tenacity, and the uniqueness of Newfoundland culture, we witness a return from a foreign country, only to face new boundaries at home. In the world premiere of a new script, we’ll explore the borders between the seen and unseen; between what can be imagined, and proven, and what can be experienced; between belief and faith. We’ll finish up in Belfast, where two homecare workers decide to cross the line when their charge suddenly dies on the loo the very day his bet on the ponies comes in. They lie, and then lie again, until things compound with hilarious results. As each play in our season unfolds, you’ll see boundaries and borders continue to get crossed, redrawn and crossed again.
Why are we so drawn to cross borders, if not to see something new? On behalf of everyone at Prairie Theatre Exchange, I welcome you join us for our new season of great plays.
A R T I S T I C D I R E C T O R
This is Mr. Metcalfe’s fifteenth year as the Artistic Director of Prairie Theatre Exchange. Some of his favourite plays he’s directed here include Zadie’s Shoes, Unity (1918), Copenhagen, apple, Chimera, The Best Brothers, Small Things and Vigil (in fact, any play by Morris Panych). Bob established both the Carol Shields Festival of New Works and the PTE Playwrights Unit (which resulted in the world premieres of Burnin’ Love, The Secret Mask, The Brink, Social Studies, Marriage: A Demolition in Two Acts, The Flats, all of which he directed, and this year’s How the Heavens Go, which he will also direct). In recent years, he has regularly directed for Persephone Theatre in Saskatoon, and Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre in Nova Scotia. Before PTE, he was the Artistic Director of Sunshine Theatre in Kelowna, BC, served as the Associate Artistic Director at Green Thumb Theatre in Vancouver, and had an active career as a freelance director, actor, dramaturge, and fight director after graduating from the acting program at Studio 58 in 1980.