Twenty years ago this past fall, on the evening of Oct 6th, 1998, openly gay university student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, viciously beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the starry outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. In the aftermath of what became known as one of the most infamous hate crimes in modern American history, the close-knit citizens of Laramie were left to confront and investigate the brutality of the crime, its roots in hate and intolerance, and the possibility of the community’s own culpability under intense and unsparing national and international media scrutiny.
Over the course of 18 months following Matthew Shepard’s murder, members of the Tectonic Theatre Project would travel to Laramie and conduct more than 200 interviews with its residents to construct a complex and deeply moving theatrical account of a community’s attempt to make sense of the unthinkable and reconcile the unimaginable - The Laramie Project.
The Laramie Project’s call, not just to tolerance, but to acceptance, is more compelling than ever in a world beset by cruelty, indifference, obstinate prejudice. As audience members travel with the actors over the course of the production, it becomes clear that the community they begin to recognize is their own, and in that recognition comes the realization that the time for positive change is the urgent responsibility of all.
The unique and compelling experience of this production will become a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as each show will be followed by a talkback during which Matthew’s parents, Dennis and Judy, will reflect during an open discussion with the audience on Matthew, the meaning of his death and life and the more accepting world we all hope to build.
Please come and join us to engage, reflect and be inspired in the company of Dennis and Judy, and in the spirit of their son, Matt, whose short life, though lost, has helped others find their voice.
The Laramie Project will run on Thursday, February 28th and Friday, March 1st @ 7:00 pm with a special closing gala performance in Dennis, Judy and Matthew’s honour on Saturday, March 2nd at 1:30 pm, with all proceeds going to the Matthew Shepard Foundation in support of its mission to “Erase Hate”. Tickets are $15.
The parents of Mathew, Dennis and Judy Shepard, will conduct post-production talkbacks following all three performances.
***Tickets will be filled on a first-come first-served basis and they will be available for pickup on February 21st.***
The Laramie Project is an emotionally powerful play that calls for dialogue acceptance and understanding in a balanced and constructive manner. Talkbacks hosted by Matthew's parents, Dennis and Judy, are meant to provide context and facilitate discussion as we look to address discrimination in any form. Please note, however, that, while The Laramie Project does not depict acts of violence, it does contain mature language and themes. Parental discretion is advised.
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