Tectonic Theater Project will travel back to Laramie, Wyoming to perform a staged reading of The Laramie Project October 11 at the University of Wyoming’s Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts Thrust Theater, honoring the 25th anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard. Tectonic company members will comprise the cast.
The reading will begin at 7:30 PM. A conversation with the memorial cast and creators of The Laramie Project will also be held at 12 PM at the University of Wyoming Arts and Sciences Auditorium.
In October 1998, a young gay man named Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming was beaten to death in a homophobic hate crime. The play, staged in a documentary-journalism style where the residents of Laramie (played by the ensemble) are interviewed about Shepard and the events leading up to his death, was created through real interviews and information sourced in Laramie from members of the community. Since it was first staged in 2000, it has brought Shepard's story to life in countless cities across the United States, educating audiences about the consequences of hate, intolerance, and prejudice.
“The impact this play has had on the world is both humbling and awe-inspiring. It has ignited conversations, challenged prejudices, and opened hearts in ways I could never have imagined. Even after 25 years, the relevance of The Laramie Project remains strikingly poignant...It is a painful reminder that we must remain vigilant in our fight for equality and justice, ensuring that Matthew's legacy lives on as a catalyst for change," says Moisés Kaufman, the leading writer of The Laramie Project.
The reading is produced by Matthew Greenberg and Cecelia Aragon with WYOpen Stages, and directed by Jeffrey LaHoste. It is sponsored by The University of Wyoming Department of Theatre and Dance, Tectonic Theater Project, The Shepard Symposium for Social Justice, Wyoming Arts Council, The University of Wyoming Honors College, The American Heritage Center, and WYOpen Stages.
The Laramie Project was written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, including head writer Leigh Fondakowsk, associate Writers Greg Pierotti, Stephen Belber, and Stephen Wangh, and dramaturgs Amanda Gronich, Sara Lambert, John McAdams, Maude Mitchell, Andy Paris, Barbara Pitts, and Kelli Simpkins.
The work first premiered at The Ricketson Theatre by the Denver Center Theatre Company / Denver Center for the Performing Arts in February 2000. It was next performed in New York City's Union Square Theatre before returning to Laramie, Wyoming in November 2002. Later that year, The Laramie Project was adapted into a film written and directed by Moisés Kaufman.
The Laramie Project has been seen by an estimated 20 million people and performed on stages in more than 20 countries in 13 different languages. The play was a major figure in increasing queer visibility in pop culture in the 2000's, and helped enact a Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed into effect by President Barack Obama.
For tickets to the reading and more information, visit here.