Members of the Theatre Royal Bath’s Young People’s Theatre (YPT) are set to stage THE LARAMIE PROJECT at the egg theatre from Thursday 21st November to Saturday 23rd November. One of the most performed plays in America today; The Laramie Project is based on a real American tragedy.
Set in Wyoming between 1998 and 1999, The Laramie Project chronicles the life of the town of Laramie in the year after a shocking murder. The result is a beautifully assembled, searing and compelling play that offers rare insight into the emotional lives of those immediately affected by the tragedy.
In October 1998, Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, and left to die, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. Five weeks later, Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie, and conducted more than two hundred interviews over the course of a year with the people of the town about their experience with one of the country’s most notorious anti-gay hate crimes, exploring its explosive aftermath and how it affected the small western town. Scripted from the interviews, and featuring over seventy characters, The Laramie Project was first performed in 2000 by just eight actors, less than two years after the events it portrays.
The Laramie Project was written by Moisés Kaufman, who also directed the original production, with head writer Leigh Fondakowski, and associate writers Stephen Belber, Greg Pierotti, and Stephen Wangh. Moisés Kaufman was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. He also directed the film adaptation of The Laramie Project for HBO, which was selected for the opening night of the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and won the National Board of Review Award, the Humanitas Prize and a Special Mention for Best First Film at the Berlin Film Festival. The film also earned Kaufman two Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writer. The Laramie Project continues to be taught in schools across America.
The Theatre Royal’s Young People’s Theatre production of The Laramie Project will feature a cast of forty-one teenagers, aged from fourteen to eighteen years, hailing from Bath and the surrounding area. The production company for The Laramie Project also comprises seventeen budding technicians – teenagers from Bath, Bradford-On-Avon, Bristol and Chippenham, participating behind-the-scenes and working alongside the professional team to learn about lighting, sound, wardrobe and stage management.
Director of The Laramie Project, John East, said,
“Despite the tragic and at times horrific content of The Laramie Project, we believe the play ends on a note of hope. Whilst nothing appears to have changed in Laramie at the end of the play, I think there is a sense that the younger generation of students have been changed: that the world view passed onto them by their parents will not go unquestioned, and that as future citizens and leaders they will be the catalyst for change the world is looking for.”
Director John East is also director of Just Enough Theatre Company, whose previous productions include Wrecked at Wilton’s Music Hall, London in 2009; and The Two Noble Kinsmen at Bath’s Ustinov Studio and The Dell at the RSC in 2011, followed by Bath’s egg theatre and The Space Arts Centre, London in 2012. Before graduating from the Central School of Speech & Drama in London, John worked for the Theatre Royal Bath as assistant director for the YPT under director Lee Lyford.
Set and costume design for The Laramie Project is by Harriet de Winton, who recently created the design for a sell-out production of The House of Bernarda Alba staged by the Theatre Royal Bath’s Engage Company at the egg theatre. Previously, she has worked extensively with Bristol’s Tobacco Factory and designed productions staged at the Bristol Old Vic, The Rose Theatre Kingston and for national tour.
THE LARAMIE PROJECT appears at the egg theatre from Thursday 21st November to Saturday 23rd November. Tickets are available from the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or egg reception on 01225 823 409 or visit www.theatreroyal.org.uk
Times: Evenings at 7.30pm, Saturday Matinee at 2.30pm
Tickets: £8 / £7 children & students