This year marks the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking play, “The Laramie Project,” and over 100 theatres across the country will join in remembering the life of Matthew Shepard and the legacy of the play on Oct. 12.

In the Carolinas

“The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later” will be performed on Oct. 12 at four theatres across the Carolinas.

Burning Coal Theater Company
Raleigh
www.burningcoal.org
919-834-4001

Edge Theatre
Charlotte
www.theedgetheatre.org

Paper Lantern Company
Winston-Salem
www.paperlanterntheatre.com
336-721-1310

Pure Theatre
Charleston
www.puretheatre.org
843-723-4444

The play, first written and performed by the Tectonic Theater Project, recounts the aftermath of the Shepard hate crime. On Oct. 6, 1998, Shepard, an openly gay college student, was beaten and left to die tied to fence outside Laramie, Wyo. He died six days later. The town of Laramie was left reeling with an onslaught of national media attention, as Shepard’s death and ensuing trial of his killers became a turning point in the debate over anti-LGBT violence and hate crimes.

A month after Shepard’s death, members of the Tectonic Theater traveled to Laramie. They conducted interviews with the people of the town and from those interviews wrote “The Laramie Project.” The play has been performed worldwide, turned into a film for HBO and has been seen by more than 50 million people around the country.

On Oct. 12, over 100 theatres, including four in the Carolinas, will premiere Tectonic Theater’s compelling 10-year anniversary epilogue, “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later.” The writers of the play are Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber.

The epilogue delves into and explores the long-term effects of Shepard’s murder among the townspeople and community of Laramie. It explores how Laramie has changed and grown, and how the murder and its aftermath continue to reverberate in the community.

“The Tectonic Theater Project set out to find out how Laramie had changed in the ten years since the murder of Matthew Shepard. When we arrived, we were forced to confront the question, ‘How do you measure change in a community?’ One of the things we found when we got there, which greatly surprised us, was people in Laramie saying this was not a hate crime,” Moises Kaufman, Artistic Director of Tectonic Theater Project, said in a release.

The play includes follow-up interviews with Judy Shepard, killer Aaron McKinney and Laramie residents first featured in the original play: Romaine Patterson, Reggie Fluty, Jedediah Shultz, Father Roger Schmidt, Jonas Slonaker, Beth Loffreda and others.

“We found the people of Laramie still fighting to own their own history, their own identity, their own story, and part of that is shaped by how they understand what happened that night to Matthew,” said co-writer Leigh Fondakowski.

Tectonic Theater will also launch an online, interactive community at www.laramieproject.org. Users will be able to blog, upload videos and photos and share their stories about the play and experiences preparing and presenting the epilogue in their local communities.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.