Headshot of Debbie Patterson ©

Debbie Patterson

Last updated: October 20, 2020

Debbie Patterson is a Winnipeg playwright, director and actor. Trained at the National Theatre School of Canada, she is a founding member of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR), served as Theatre Ambassador for Winnipeg’s Cultural Capital year, and as Artistic Director of the Popular Theatre Alliance of Manitoba. She was the Carol Shields Writer-in-Residence 2012 at the University of Winnipeg and Playwright-in-Residence at Theatre Projects Manitoba in 2013/14. She served as Artistic Associate at Prairie Theatre Exchange (PTE) from 2012 to 2018 and is currently a member of the PTE Playwrights Unit. Playwriting credits include How it Ends, Sargent & Victor & Me, (both for Sick + Twisted Theatre) the musicals Head (SIR), Molotov Circus (SummerWorks) and numerous TYA shows for PTE. Directing credits include Becoming Dr. Ruth for Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Breaking Up Is Hard to Do for Rainbow Stage, Boundary Avenue for One Trunk, Festen for PTE@PTE, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Taming of the Shrew for SIR, The Crackwalker for Sweet and Salty Collective and Saint Joan for Theatre by the River. She is in demand across the country as a consultant on crip aesthetics/accessibility and as a disability dramaturge. As a performer, some of her favourite roles have included Zoya in Molotov Circus, the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and Jenny in Threepenny Opera. In 2016, Debbie became the first physically disabled actor to play the title role in Richard III in a professional Canadian production. Debbie is active in the dance community, collaborating on projects with Winnipeg’s Contemporary Dancers, Royal Winnipeg Ballet School’s Aspirant Program and Young Lungs Dance Exchange. She was honoured with the United Nations Platform for Action Committee’s 2014 Activist Award and the Winnipeg Arts Council Making a Mark Award in 2017. In 2018 she was shortlisted for the Gina Wilkinson Prize. She is a proud advocate for disability justice through her work as Founding Artistic Director of Sick + Twisted Theatre. She lives a wheelchair-enabled life in Winnipeg and in a cabin on the shore of Lake Winnipeg with her partner and collaborator, Arne MacPherson.