University of Lethbridge explores friendship and relationships in “A Dinner Party”


The University of Lethbridge is excited to host  “A Dinner Party” in the University Theatre, Feb. 8-12.

Claire Smith and Carter Debusschere rehearse the U of L’s new play A Dinner Party. Photo by Richard Amery


 New West Theatre’s Kelley Reay directs this new production by Calgary playwright Christopher Duthie.

“This is only the third time it has been performed,” said Reay.


Faculty advisor and Drama Department faculty and production designer, David Smith brought the play to the fore.

“I was the designer for the premiere of this play three years ago with Bad Knaps Theatre in Calgary and Christopher Duthie and I were graduate students together as well. This is a great play for our students to work on,” said Smith in a press release.


 “As theatre practitioners we are storytellers, and the set, although uncomplicated, provides important context where the action unfolds.”

“ I love this play , because it starts out as a dinner party but it takes off in an unexpected direction. There really is something in the that will appeal to everyone,” Reay enthused, noting “ Dinner Party” is about four friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time.


Danielle Baker rehearse the U of L’s new play A Dinner Party. Photo by Richard Amery

“It really subverts your expectations,” he said.

“It‘s what happens when four old friends come together,” he said.


The cast includes Kacie Hall as Boo, Danielle Baker as Darling, Carter Debusschere and  Claire Smith as Sweetie, the newest addition to this group of friends.


“She ’s really a lot of fun. She’s 10 years younger than the rest of them. She brings a lot of chaos,” Smith enthused.

“She’s kind of a granola, yoga girl. She’s a hippie but also very down to earth,” she said, adding she has enjoyed working with the cast since rehearsals began in the first week of January.

“ We’ve become really close and our characters are all extensions of our personalities,” she continued, adding the play has adult content including some profanity.

“So maybe leave the kids at home for this one,” she said.


 They have been rehearsing five days a week in the evenings.


 Reay noted directing  “A  Dinner  Party” has been a juggling act as he is also preparing for New West Theatre’s upcoming production of “Sexy Laundry,” which opens Feb. 17.


“ It’s been a juggling act. But we’ve been rehearsing  for this play in the evenings, which leaves me time for my day job,” Reay said.

Kacie Hall, Danielle Baker, Claire Smith and Carter Debusschere rehearse the U of L’s new play A Dinner Party. Photo by Richard Amery


 He is grateful that the cast was able to rehearse in person considering Covid has forced a lot of students to take classes online.


“It’s a really funny story. I’m very grateful,” he said, adding working with the cast has  been his favourite part of working on the play.


“ I’ve really looked forward to the cast’s energy. It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.


Tickets for A Dinner Party are complimentary for all patrons, but ticket reservations are required through the University Box Office. Tickets can either be reserved online, or in person, Monday – Friday 12:30 – 3:30 p.m. at the University Box Office window. Seating is limited.

The following protocols are in place to access the University of Lethbridge:

Vaccination is required for all visitors ages 12+ to attend any space on uLethbridge campus. This applies to all programs and events, including meetings, sporting events, and cultural activities (e.g. performances, concerts). Event attendees will be asked to show this proof prior to entering any venue. Attendees who cannot provide this attestation will be refused entry and no refund will be issued.

Albertans can access their vaccination record and QR code by visiting the Alberta Covid Records website. 

Masks are mandatory on campus, including in the University Theatre, at all times. Seating is limited.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor