Play highlights anti-gay parallels between Wyoming and rural Manitoba

WINNIPEG, MB – The University of Winnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film ends the season with The Laramie Project, directed by Christopher Sigurdson, running from April 1 – 5, 2014 at the Gas Station Arts Centre. The play, developed by Moisés Kaufman and members of The Tectonic Theater Company, was written almost fifteen years ago following the savage beating of a gay college student, Matthew Shepard, on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. It chronicles the community’s effort to redefine itself following Matthew’s death, and portrays the residents dealing with their anger, their own misgivings, and the onslaught of media scrutiny that broadly labeled the community as intolerant.

This is a timely piece in light of recent headlines from Arizona to Russia to Uganda. Strikingly, current events in rural Manitoba have exposed concerns about intolerance toward the LGBT community close to home. The closure of a restaurant in Morris and a Steinbach student’s fight with the school board to start a Gay-Straight Alliance in his high school has drawn national attention. However, once the media glare fades away, these communities, like Laramie Wyoming, are left to resolve the lingering divisions among the residents on their own.  The Laramie Project demonstrates that while the modern media can polarize people, theatre can build connections and restore empathy.

The New York-based Tectonic Theatre developed this play over a two-year period after travelling to Laramie six times and conducting more than 200 interviews with the townspeople in the aftermath of the beating.

The production features about seventy-five different characters played by the eleven-member cast from UWinnipeg’s fourth-year Honours Acting class. The set is designed by Jamie Plummer, costumes are by Joseph Abetria, and the lighting design is by Tim Babcock and Jacqueline Robertson.

Performances are Tuesday, April 1 through Friday, April 4th at  8:00 pm nightly, and Saturday, April 5th at 7:00 pm at the Gas Station Arts Centre (445 River Avenue). Admission is free but reservations are recommended. Please call our 24-hour Reservation Line at 204.786.9152, or visit  UWinnipeg’s Department of Theatre and Film website at http://theatre.uwinnipeg.ca

Based in the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film at The University of Winnipeg, the Department of Theatre and Film offers areas of study in Acting, Design, Drama in Education, Filmmaking, Playwriting, and Production/Stage Management. Our classes are small and our approach is practical. Our faculty is comprised of highly respected and award-winning professionals who are experienced teachers and remain active in their disciplines, bringing relevant and up-to-date instruction to our students.

MEDIA CONTACT

Patty Hawkins, Dept. of Theatre and Film, The University of Winnipeg
T: 204.786.9955   E: p.hawkins@uwinnipeg.ca

Christopher Brauer, Dept. of Theatre and Film, The University of Winnipeg
T:  204.786-9006  E:   c.brauer@uwinnipeg.ca

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