Last October marked the 20th anniversary of one of the most infamous hate crimes in recent history – the killing of an openly gay university student named Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. The Laramie Project is a theatrical account based on more than 200 interviews conducted by members of the Tectonic Theatre Project of New York over the course of 18 months following Matthew’s death. It is also the choice for this year’s upcoming Senior School drama production taking place on Feb. 28, and March 1-2.
Last spring, Director and Head of Drama, Scott Garbe, with the help of his colleagues, selected The Laramie Project because of its complex theatricality and important lessons regarding tolerance and acceptance. Mr. Garbe then set off on his own journey to Laramie in June to speak with members of this close-knit community who were directly impacted by Matthew's tragedy. Many of the people whom he met during his three-day visit were the same individuals Tectonic had interviewed 20 years ago and are portrayed in the play. Word spread quickly that Scott and his son, Jeremy, were in town, and on his last day he received a call from Matthew’s parents, Dennis and Judy Shepard, offering to meet with him.
That day a special friendship was forged and CDS has the honour of hosting Judy and Dennis Shepard for all three of our upcoming productions – one month from today. As the passionate founders of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and advocates of its mission to “Erase Hate,” Judy and Dennis will host talkbacks following each show.
Watch our short video of Scott Garbe sharing stories from his journey to Laramie last summer.
While this story happened 20 years ago in Wyoming, the choice to launch The Laramie Project at our school in Ontario could not be more timely based on what’s happening today. It is the hope of Mr. Garbe, his colleagues and the cast and crew that by sharing this play, they will help to remind our CDS and surrounding communities about how hateful acts shown toward members of any group who are perceived to be different impact the world we live in.
The Laramie Project will take place on Thursday, Feb. 28 and Friday, March 1 at 7:00 pm and Saturday, March 2 at 1:30 pm in the CDS Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $15 and available at www.cds.on.ca/tickets Please help us spread the word!