20 Years Later, ‘Laramie Project’ Remains Significant

Twenty years ago this October, a 21-year-old University of Wyoming student named Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, brutally beaten, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming, and left to die. Shepard was the victim of a hate crime that would soon become the focus of the entire nation—he was killed because he was gay.

Four weeks later, members of the New York City-based Tectonic Theater Project took what would be the first of six visits to Laramie. During the aftermath of Matthew’s murder and the arrest and trial of the perpetrators, members of Tectonic conducted more than 200 interviews with the citizens of the town. The Laramie Project, first produced in 2000, is what resulted from those interviews. The play is a gripping theatrical collage that explores the depth of the human spirit. Now more important than ever, The Laramie Project asks the most challenging questions about who we are, what we believe in, and what kind of world we want to live in.

Williston will present the play on October 25 to 27 at 7 p.m., and hosts a talkback with cast and crew after each performance. The Laramie Project is recommended for those 11 years or older.

The Grum Project, Williston’s five-year artist-in-residence program, brings Laramie head-writer Leigh Fondakowski to campus on September 20 and 21. In conjunction with the production, the theater department will be conducting a fundraiser for the Matthew Shepard Foundation. For more information please visit matthewshepard.org.

The Laramie Project is produced by special arrangement with Dramatist Play Service.

Tickets go on sale October 1.