FERNDALE – On Oct. 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a young student attending the University of Wyoming, was abducted by two men, tied to a fence, tortured and left for dead in a remote location on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. This horrific event spurred one of the most covered news stories involving hate crimes in American History.
Moises Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theatre Project traveled to Laramie a month after the occurrence and conducted over 200 interviews over a span of 18 months with members of the local community. They compiled those interviews and made them into what would become “The Laramie Project.”
The Detroit Actor’s Theatre Company will present “The Laramie Project” April 24-26 at the Social Hall Theatre inside the Ferndale United Methodist Church. 22331 Woodward Avenue, Ferndale. Performance times are 8 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, and 7:30 p.m. Friday.
Over the last 15 years, Matthews’ story has been a major catalyst in the advancement of anti-hate crime legislation and LGBT rights in the U.S. The creation of anti-bullying campaigns and Gay- Straight Alliance groups in high schools across the country can be directly linked to the impact that The Laramie Project has had on our youth and communities. “The Laramie Project” has been performed thousands of times both in the United States and worldwide. All performances are dedicated to the advancement of cultural, racial and gender acceptance.
Matthew’s story created a dialogue that has given victims of hate-crimes a voice that would have otherwise fallen on deaf ears. It has inspired a generation to stand up for themselves, hoping that one day, our world won’t look down on people because of their sexual orientation, race, gender, or religious affiliation.
In addition to the production, The Detroit Actor’s Theatre Company is proud to host Susan Burk, programs director of The Matthew Shepard Foundation. Susan was the NBC affiliate executive producer and news anchor in Wyoming at the time of Matthew Shepard’s murder. She will be speaking and leading a talk-back event after the performance on Friday, April 25.
Tickets on Thursday and Saturday are $15 for adults and $10 for students; and on Friday $20 for adults and $15 for students and seniors. Tickets are available for purchase at http://www.thedatc.org or http://showtix4u.com.