The Laramie Project Cycle: Changing the World with a New Generation of Artists, Educators, and Activists
The plays that spoke to the world and inspired a new dialogue to combat intolerance, homophobia and hate crimes are returning with the original cast in early 2013, and we need your support to keep the conversation going.
Be a part of this historic theatrical and community event by contributing your dollars, your questions, your passion, and share your stories.
We are Tectonic Theater Project, the creators and original cast members of The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.
In 1998, a 21-year-old, openly gay college student, Matthew Shepard, was brutally murdered on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming, because of his sexuality. This tragic historical event galvanized advocates for civil rights around the country. We traveled to the town, creating our play, The Laramie Project, based on hundreds of interviews with those connected to Matt and to Laramie. The show and its sequel (The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later) have quickly become among the most-performed plays in the world, starting both conversations and controversy wherever they are performed.
THE PLAYS RETURN
In February 2013, Tectonic will present these groundbreaking works at one of the world’s most important performing venues, The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). This honor provides an extraordinary opportunity to place these works in a much-needed spotlight on one of the world’s most highly visible stages and for future presentations.
It also helps us continue to explore the critical issues addressed in these plays: the culture of intolerance, hatred, and violence and its damaging effects on our country; the healing and importance of civic dialogue; the role of religion as a force both for and against LGBT equality;and the power of individuals to bring change to their own communities through activism and art.
Even in the most recent election, equal rights have made unprecedented strides forward at the ballot box. But discriminatory laws are still on the books in most of the country. We have a long way to go, and The Laramie Project Cycle has the power to start conversations that will inspire positive change and understanding.
WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT:
Help us bring the original cast of The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later back for future presentations.
We have created this campaign to help lay the groundwork for future Laramie Project Cycle productions, in order to engage a new generation of artists and audience members. Your support is vital for the health and longevity of these shows.
Your contribution will directly assist Tectonic by providing:
1. Much-needed funds to help us pay for the initial costs to launch future productions in February. 2013 and beyond. The costs that go into remounting these plays are enormous. They involve set design, sound design, rights and licensing fees, royalities, music royalties, projections, and more! Your support will help us fulfill these needs.
2. Funds to reinvigorate the Laramie Project community with up-to-date content and community resources. This online community (www.laramieproject.org) provides an active forum for fans of the plays, and includes important resource materials for schools, productions and community centers. Your support will help us proactively engage a new generation of socially-minded artists, students and theater-lovers to participate in this community with new material and up-to-date conversations.
3. Funds toward education program development to promote future Laramie Project Cycle productions across the country, such as visiting guest artists, curriciulm, and training for schools, universities and community theaters.
On October 6th, 1998, 21-year-old Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die, tied to a fence, on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. He died six days later. His torture and murder became a watershed historical moment in America, reminding us that hate and violence can happen anywhere, even in our backyard.
The Laramie Project, which draws on hundreds of interviews with the citizens of Laramie, company members’ own journal entries and published news reports, tells the story of a town in turmoil. It’s a portrait of an American town that could be anywhere. It’s universal, but deeply intimate, and personal and honest.
The Laramie Project has always been about much more than the one horrific incident it was inspired by: the hate crime murder of Matthew Shepard. The plays have been a launching point for millions of conversations about how our culture teaches fear and hate, and the impact that can have on all our lives, and how we create our own impact in response.
In 2008, we returned to Laramie to see how its citizens fared ten years after the media scrutiny that followed Matthew’s murder. Out of those interviews came the sequel, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. Very quickly, it became clear that history was being rewritten in Laramie; even the fence where Matt died was gone. The Laramie Project: Ten Years later provides an honest reassessment of how far we’ve come, and of how much further we have to go to recognize and face intolerance in our country. This play made history by premiering on 150 stages around the world on the same night.
Despite being one of the most performed plays in the country for the last decade, The Laramie Project continues to generate controversy. Protests are still commonplace wherever the play is being performed. In fact, a performance at a Catholic high school in Lawrence, New Jersey was shut down by parents- after the show had been cast and rehearsals had started. Recent years have seen protests against performances in Texas, Oregon, and more.
As issues related to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality have become increasingly visible, the themes of these plays have only grown more resonant in our culture. Hate crimes and bullying affect the entire community, not just their direct victims. The Laramie Project Cycle has the power to start conversations that will combat this mentality of repression and intolerance, spreading the message of equal rights and tolerance around the country and world. By performing these two shows in New York with the original cast and in repertory for the first time, and reinvigorating the online community, we will again bring to the forefront the conversations that we need to have. And that will help bring about a more equal and just society for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation.
SHARE YOUR STORIES - HOW HAS THE LARAMIE PROJECT IMPACTED TO YOU?
The Laramie Project has been seen by over 30 million people worldwide, and in turn has sparked millions of conversations. If you have seen, or been a part of a production of either of these plays, we would like to hear from you. How have these shows inspired you? Tell us about your experiences, your productions, your memories of seeing the show... and share your photos! We want like to hear from you.
Please send a personal 1min. video, written memory, photos or other items to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will post as many as we can to the campaign page.
THE LARAMIE PROJECT ONLINE COMMUNITY: http://www.laramieproject.org
An online community dedicated to supporting performances of this play, features Curriculum materials, hours of video, hundreds of members, and is set up to serve as a real gathering point for communities performing these plays.
THE MATTHEW SHEPARD FOUNDATION: http://www.matthewshepard.org
TECTONIC THEATER PROJECT: http://www.tectonictheaterproject.org
Official website for Tectonic Theater Project. Tectonic's mission is to develop new theatrical work that addresses important social issues as a way to create dialogue, understanding and promote a more thoughtful and just society. Tectonic is dedicated to developing innovative works that explore theatrical language and form, fostering an artistic dialogue with our audiences on the social, political and human issues that affect us all. Works, including THE LARAMIE PROJECT, GROSS INDECENCY: THE THREE TRIALS OF OSCAR WILDE, and I AM MY OWN WIFE, have sparked national discourse about their subjects and have inspired artists and audiences worldwide.
* Tectonic Theater Project is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and contributions made qualify for tax deductions according to the federal tax laws. Generally, contributions are tax-deductible minus the fair market value of any perks you receive. To receive the full value of your contribution, you may choose not to receive the perk. For questions about tax deductibility, you should contact your tax advisor.