The 2018/19 season at Prairie Theatre Exchange kicks off tonight with the opening night of Prairie Nurse.

Prairie Nurse is written by Marie Beath Badian. It premiered at Blyth Festival in Toronto in 2013. It’s centred around two Filipino women who come to Canada in 1967 and work as nurses in Arborfield, Saskatchewan, and the people around them.

Badian says it’s a fiction loosely inspired by real life people.

“The character Puring is loosely based on my mom... all of the characters, with the exception of the two nurses, are named after actual people who worked at the Arborfield Hospital in 1967... I wanted to pay homage to those people, and their role in welcoming my mom to Canada.”

Badian says it’s joyous and wonderful to see the play grow and become the experience of those interpreting it. She says she’s looking forward to the PTE production because Winnipeg is both urban and prairie.

“I saw (the play) in Saskatchewan, which was like so crazy because it was 30 minutes outside of Arborfield. I think that there is absolutely something to be said about the connection of the experience of being on the prairies and this epic immigration story of these nurses who come from urban and rural Philippines.”

PTE bills the production as “an immigration tale with a healthy dose of laughter.” The cast features: Dutchess Cayetano, Pamela Halstead, Kristian Jordan, Rayna Masterton, Ross McMillan, Robb Paterson, and Stephanie Sy. Ardith Boxall directs.

“I think that if any of us have ever encountered health care in Canada, nine times out of ten you’ve encountered a Filipino health care provider. And I think that if this play allows a little glimpse into having curiosity and wondering why that is, and ensuring that people understand that our immigration to Canada is part of the fabric of our nation, that is so exciting and vital and important to me,” says Badian.