Churchill High School Presents The Laramie Project
The Churchill High School presented their production of The Laramie Project on December 17th and 18th at 6PM in the Kristy Baxter Auditorium. The Laramie Project is a documentary-style play created by the Venezuelan playwright Moises Kaufman and members of Tectonic Theater Project, an experimental company whose work has often touched on social themes. The Laramie Project analyzes the death of Matthew Shepard, an openly gay college student who was brutally murdered in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998 because of his sexual identity. Shepard's murder is one of the most well-known hate crimes in recent American history. In 2009, the U.S. Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, a piece of legislation that strengthens existing hate crime laws.
On opening night of the production (December 17th), there was a talkback with Barbara Pitts-McAdams of Tectonic Theatre Company, one of the co-creators and original cast members of The Laramie Project immediately following the show. Barbara spoke with audience members and our cast regarding the process of making the show, its impact, and its relevance today. The High School then had an assembly on the 18th during the school day and engaged with Ms. Pitts-McAdams as well.
The performance was a rousing success, audience members and cast alike felt the weight of the play; several boxes of tissues were used to dry tearful eyes.
In addition to the performance, students from The Churchill High School Arts and Social Justice classes researched and discussed hate crimes in America. Students facilitated an Immersive Gallery for audience members to explore beginning at 5pm on both performance days (17th & 18th). They conducted interviews (mirroring the process of Tectonic Theater Company), shared a memorial wall of research they conducted on victims of hate crimes, provided information on The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and facilitated a blackout poetry station.
The Churchill School Rainbow Alliance and PRISM groups from the elementary and middle school partnered with the High School to make buttons to sell before the performances of The Laramie Project. Proceeds will go to the Matthew Shepard Foundation (MSF). For more information about MSF visit: https://www.matthewshepard.org/
The Churchill School and Center, a K-12 coeducational college preparatory day school in New York City, is dedicated to working collaboratively with students, educators, and families to help children with language-based learning disabilities realize their full potential. Work Here