HIGH POINT, N.C., Sept. 27, 2012 – The High Point University Department of Theatre will present “The Laramie Project” – a riveting story that presents a series of interviews from the town of Laramie, Wyo., and documents the events surrounding the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student from the University of Wyoming. The production will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 4-6 and Oct. 8-10 in the Empty Space Theatre. It is open to the public, and tickets are available to purchase.
“The Laramie Project” is a small town’s reaction to the murder of Shepard, who was pistol whipped, lashed to a fence and left for dead. The murder was denounced as a hate crime and brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in various states, including Wyoming. The play is not only about Shepard, homosexuality and the town of Laramie, but also touches on other global topics, such as hate, bigotry, intolerance, social injustice and socio-economic struggles.
Directed by Doug Brown, instructor of theatre, the production stars seniors Brandon Browning and Marisa Brown; juniors Jared Goldenberg, Brittanie Joyner, David Mikulay and Jamison Meyer; sophomore Ashton Hunt; and freshmen Nina Yasick and Mackie Quirk. The play will also feature professional equity actors Emily Mark and Mike Tourek. Stage manager is junior DeAnna Hughes.
“‘The Laramie Project’ deals with contemporary and controversial themes in a straight-forward manner,” says Brown. “We are grateful to the HPU administration for supporting this significant piece. It is truly a remarkable experience not only for our student actors, but for those who attend the production.”
Students in the production feel strongly about their participation in the performance as well.
“I never realized how incredible it is for our school to be performing this piece until we completed our own personal research of the event,” says Goldenberg. “I assumed that our society would have quickly taken legal actions to prevent this type of behavior from happening again, but it took 11 years – 2009 – for an act to be passed to protect those who are attacked because of their sexual preference. That being said, I am thrilled to be a part of this show because I realize it is extremely relevant in our society. I hope students will realize how valid this show is because we were alive when this event happened.”
“From someone who has believed in loving others and seeking peace in the world, this play has only ignited in me an even deeper passion to stop hate and encourage others to respect one another and our beliefs,” adds Joyner.
Tickets are $10 for general admission, $7 for senior citizens, $5 for students and $3 for children 12 and under. Those interested in purchasing tickets may contact the HPU box office at Hayworth Fine Arts Center at 336-841-4673.