University of South Carolina

University part of ‘The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later’ premiere

The University of South Carolina’s department of theatre and dance on Oct. 12 will participate in the worldwide premiere of “The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later,” the epilogue to the groundbreaking theatrical production based on the murder of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyo.

The performance, set for 8 p.m. in Longstreet Theatre, is free and open to the public and will coincide with similar staged readings in more than 100 theaters in all 50 states, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong and Australia that day.

University theater professor Jim O’Connor will direct the local performance, written by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber of the Tectonic Theatre Project. The play examines of the long-term effects of the murder of Shepard, a gay man, on the town of Laramie.

The play includes interviews with Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, and Mathew’s murderer, Aaron McKinney, who is serving two consecutive life sentences. The writers also conducted follow-up interviews with Laramie residents.

“The authors have used their journalistic form of theater to focus on how people and places have or haven’t changed in the 10 years since the murder of Matt Shepard,” said O’Connor, “and, in doing so, they have managed to offer our audience the opportunity to serve as witnesses to this horrific tragedy.”

Shepard died in October 1998, six days after being beaten and tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie. The publicity surrounding the murder led to a dramatic increase in the awareness of violence and prejudice against individuals based on their sexual orientation.

A month after the murder, members of Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie and conducted interviews with the people of the town. From those interviews came the play, “The Laramie Project,” which became an HBO film seen by more than 50 million people.

As part of the national community aspect of the event, a blog has been established (http://community.laramieproject.org) for audiences to participate in online discussions about the play and the issues it raises.

For more information about the worldwide premiere, visit www.laramieproject.com and www.tectonictheaterproject.org.

For more information about the Columbia performance and for interview arrangements, contact Kevin Bush at 803-777-9353 or bushk@mailbox.sc.edu.

‘The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later’

  • What: Sequel to original groundbreaking drama based on murder of Matthew Shepard
  • When: Oct. 12, 8 p.m.
  • Where: Longstreet Theatre, plus more than 100 theaters worldwide that will stage the production on the same day

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 10/09/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 10/09/09 @ 4:15 PM | Permalink