By Liza Draper
“The Laramie Project is the most important piece of theatre I’ve ever done. It changes me every single time I read it, listen to it, and perform it,” said Anna Caccavaro of Newport.
Since February, teens from Newport, Stevens, Kearsarge, and Fall Mountain high schools have been working with Producing Artistic Director Shelly Hudson on "The Laramie Project."
The play tells the story of Matthew Shepard, a 21-year old gay college student who was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming in October 1998. The real characters’ words are drawn from more than 200 interviews with town residents conducted by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project over the course of the following year. The Laramie Project is one of the most performed plays in America.
Rural Outright, a program of TLC Family Resource Center, joined forces with Amplified Arts to make this production possible because it insists we confront the forms of hatred that continue to plague our society today. While the cast members are too young to remember Matthew’s murder, they (and we) don’t want it to be forgotten.
There will be a panel discussion with cast and crew, LGBTQ+ community members, and other experts after each performance to consider whether anything has truly changed over the past 20 years—and how we would respond were a hate crime to occur in our community.
A racially-tinged incident involving minors here last summer underscores the tremendous need for such an open dialogue. Confronting hate is a theme in the free ongoing series of monthly readings, “Understanding Diversity and Inclusion through Children’s Literature” offered in partnership with the Claremont School District.
The NH Governor’s Advisory Council on Diversity and Inclusion will be visiting Claremont next week as part of its statewide listening tour, providing an opportunity for more people of all ages to become involved in this vital conversation.
I hope you want to be involved. The show opens Friday, April 27 at 6:30pm at the Amplified Arts collaborative Arts Venue in downtown Claremont on the second floor at 31 Pleasant St. Additional performances are on Saturday, April 28 at 1 and at 6:30 p.m.
At TLC Family Resource Center we support and strengthen all families, children, and youth in Sullivan and Lower Grafton counties with a wide range of free programs, support groups, education, and events.
Media Contact: Maggie Monroe-Cassel
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