THE LARAMIE PROJECT (20th Anniversary Production)
By Moisés Kaufman & Tectonic Theater Project
October 9-18, 2020

On October 6, 1998 in the middle of the prairie outside Laramie, Wyoming, Matthew Shepard, a 21 year old student at the University of Wyoming, was tied to a fence post, severely beaten, robbed, , tortured and left, alone, to die. His body — battered, bloody, barely clinging to life — was discovered eighteen hours later. He was rushed to the hospital and put on life support. He died five days later. The reason for this brutal crime? Matthew Shepard was gay.

The hate crime attracted vast attention worldwide, bringing sexual discrimination and violence to the forefront of public discourse. Based on interviews, journal entries, and found texts, The Laramie Project was born. Starring 8 actors in some 60 roles, The Laramie Project is hailed as one of the most captivating and encompassing pieces of contemporary theatre. The play shocks, challenges, and moves all who watch it as it reveals the lowest depths of hatred and greatest heights of compassion that lies within all human beings in any seemingly average community.

BEN DAWKINS (Director), singer/actor/director living in Spartanburg, is making his Upstate directorial debut!  He graduated in 2014 with his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in voice performance from the University of Georgia.  Since moving to Spartanburg, he has performed with the Spartanburg Little Theatre, Proud Mary Theatre, Gaffney Little Theatre, Limestone College Theatre, Centre Stage.  As a director, he has worked with the Heritage High Patriot Players, Sandersville Community Theatre, Athena Grand Opera, and the UGA Opera Theatre.  Directing highlights include:  Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Our Town, Trouble in Tahiti, and The Old Maid and the Thief.  Local performance highlights include: BOY (Peter and the Starcatcher (Alf), Guys and Dolls (Nathan Detroit), Spamalot (Historian, Minstrel, Not-dead-Fred, French Taunter, and Prince Herbert), and Avenue Q (Nickie/Trekki Monster).  Regional highlights include leading roles in My Fair Lady, Fiddler on the Roof, The Mikado, Pirates of Penzance, and several roles as a repertory artist for the International Festival of the Aegean in Ermoupolis, Greece.  Special thanks to his wife Blair for her constant support and to Proud Mary for the opportunity to help tell this important and timely story!

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