WASHINGTON, DC – The Duke Ellington School of the Arts Theater Department is proud to present “The Laramie Project,” written by Moises Kaufman and the Members of the Tectonic Theatre Project. The Laramie Project addresses the murder of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay college student, who was beaten, tortured and left to die overnight tied to a fence near Laramie, Wyoming in 1998.
The Laramie Project is significant today because:
- In 28 states, there are no explicit statewide laws on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.
- In 2018, school-based hate crimes rose 25% for the second year in a row.
- There are currently 1,020 active hate crimes groups in the U.S – a 115% increase from 1998, the year Matthew Shepard was murdered.
- In October 2018, the 20th anniversary of his murder, years without a proper burial because his parents feared his grave would be vandalized, Matthew Shepard was finally laid to rest at the National Cathedral.
The Laramie Project has affected everyone involved in the production, leaving students and staff energized as they search for ways to make positive change through their work on the show. Chair of the Theatre Department Ken Johnson said, “We believe we must commit to being the best version of ourselves wherever life takes us and we hope ‘The Laramie Project’ will inspire that. Our mission is to leave the audience wondering how they could improve their own communities, take responsibility, and enact change in their daily lives.”
“The Laramie Project” runs April 11-12 at 7:30pm and April 13 at 2:00pm. Tickets are $10-$35 and can be purchased online at ellingtonschool.org/box-office/. Performances take place in the newly renovated Ellington Theatre @ Duke Ellington School of the Arts, 3500 R St NW, Washington, DC 20007.
“Theatre is only successful when we strengthen the arm of empathy.” – Ken Johnson, Chair of the Theatre Department & The Laramie Project Producer