Serving Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton and surrounding areas

Taste and See at Fire Exit Theatre

By Laureen F. Guenther


Calgary’s Fire Exit Theatre will open its 17th season with the annual Taste and See event, September 21 at Calgary’s First Nazarene Church.

The event is both a season launch celebration and a fundraiser. “We eat the best barbecue in town from Bubba Q’s,” says Val Lieske, Fire Exit’s artistic director. “We give people lots of different ways to support us. We introduce the new plays and the directors. We hear about the vision for the new season. Most importantly,” she says, “we party.”

Taste and See presents a staged reading of an excerpt from each play in the upcoming season. Fire Exit’s special events will also be announced, including the annual Blessings of the Artists at Lantern Church; Lieske’s workshop How to Tell a Good Story with Your Life; and a one-night-only event with Kim’s Convenience creator Ins Choi, called Songs, Stories and Spoken Words.

Fire Exit invites guests to give through live and silent auctions, a bake sale, and sponsorship opportunities. Guests are also encouraged to buy season tickets.

“We try to give our patrons lots of ways to give, and to be able to give five dollars or five thousand dollars,” Lieske says. Most donations go into general operating costs, she says, but donors may also designate gifts to specific projects.

“Our audience would probably say the food is a highlight!” Lieske says. “And just the fun atmosphere. This is not a black-tie affair. This is like eating dinner with a bunch of friends. And everyone loves to hear about the shows for the upcoming season.”

Another highlight is Momma Ruth’s pie, made by Lieske’s own mother. “She’s 90, and we’ve been selling her pies for thousands of dollars for the last few years,” Lieske says. “We decided that she’s ‘so close to God’ that we call it pie and prayer, because if you buy the pie, she’ll pray for you!”

Taste and See will take place at First Nazarene Church, 65 Richard Way SW, Calgary, Friday, September 21, at 6 pm. Tickets are $40 each or $300 for a table of eight. Purchase tickets and learn more about Fire Exit’s events at 403-640-4617 or

“It really is a great way to start the season and hear more about why we do what we do,” Lieske says. “Come!”