Title: Prairie Theatre Exchange fonds.
Dates: ca. 1896, 1962-2001.
Extent: 11.9 m of textual records and other material.
Administrative history: 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.
Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by the Prairie Theatre Exchange in 1992 and 2002.
Scope and content: The fonds consists of the official archives of the organization since 1973. Included are such administrative papers as minutes, correspondence, legal and financial records, and personnel files. The fonds also reflects the creative side of the organization, including plays (accepted and otherwise), production files, production prompt files and scripts, reviews, and critiques, plus a significant amount of promotional material such as advertisements, announcements, and play bills. Also included in the fonds are a photograph collection, a tape collection, and electronic media. The photograph collection consists of 115 photographs, 84 negative strips, 3 contact sheets, and 1 slide. The tape collection includes 14 audio-cassettes, 2 audio reels, and 1 3/4" film. The electronic media includes nine 7 1/4" and one 3 1/2" computer diskettes.
Restrictions: Some personal files and confidential production material are restricted.
Accruals: Further accruals are expected.
Finding aid: A printed finding aid is available in the Archives reading room and on-line finding aids are available at the links below:
We greatly acknowledge the financial support of the Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport and the Heritage Grants Advisory Council in the creation of this finding aid.