The Prairie Theatre Exchange occupies an important place in the cultural and educational life of Winnipeg. In 1958, two of the city's oldest theatrical organizations, Theatre 77 and the Winnipeg Little Theatre, merged to form the Manitoba Theatre Centre (M.T.C.). The M.T.C. set out to provide a better public service through improved professional productions, more new plays, and the development of future artists, which John Hirsch and Tom Hendry were instrumental in developing. In 1960, the M.T.C. formed the Manitoba Theatre School to emphasize its educational mission, but after twelve successful years the School was closed due to lack of funding. In 1973, however, through an effort spearheaded by Colin Jackson and Charles Huband, the Manitoba Theatre Workshop (M.T.W.) was opened as a replacement to the Manitoba Theatre School. The M.T.W. supported creative expression in the community through its school, its outreach program, and its theatre by encouraging local playwrights and performers. In 1981, the organization changed its name to the Prairie Theatre Exchange while reaffirming its original objectives. In December 1988, the Prairie Theatre Exchange realized a major objective when it was approved as a Teaching Centre by the University of Manitoba. In 1989, after realizing long and steady growth, the P.T.E. moved from its original home on 160 Princess Street (the old Grain Exchange Building) into its new $3.5 million facility comprising 42,500 square feet in the Portage Place Mall in downtown Winnipeg.
This collection features photographs of past Prairie Theatre Exchange productions and their performers.