LARAMIE PROJECT - First In 'Community Conversations' Series In Provincetown

LARAMIE PROJECT - First In 'Community Conversations' Series In ProvincetownIn conjunction with our 20th anniversary production of The Laramie Project, the Provincetown Theater at 238 Bradford Street in Provincetown, MA will sponsor a series of post-performance "Community Conversations" following matinee performances during the show's three-week run (October 11-28, performs Thursdays - Saturdays at 7pm, Sundays at 2pm). The first in the series will begin at 4:15pm, Sunday, Oct 14. Throughout the series, topics will pertain to socially relevant themes coursing through the veins of this modern American classic -- which reveals a community's response to the brutal murder of the openly gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming in 1998. Free of charge, open to the public, each of the "Community Conversations" focuses on a different theme relevant to the play, lead by a moderator and host of panelists in the field.

"I learned firsthand how invaluable discourse between theater performance and your community can be when I worked with Anna Deavere Smith at the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue at Harvard in 1998," says artistic director David Drake. "Forever grateful to Anna for teaching me that, I'm thrilled to bring forth such conversations now at the Provincetown Theater - especially with the magnificent exploratory nature inherent in the storytelling of The Laramie Project. Our goal, of course, is to enliven the dialogue of the social, emotional and legal implications of hate motivated crimes, and what solutions we can enact as individuals, organizations and communities. This is the heart of The Laramie Project. And this inspiration, motivation, and empowerment is the lifeblood of live theater."

One of the most searing questions The Laramie Project asks is, "How could this heinous act happen here?" As the play unfolds, what emerges is a lingering silent acceptance of homophobia that created an environment for such a heinous act to transpire.

In a town with a large LGBTQ population, Provincetown feels like a safe haven, but it could also become a target for violence. Indeed, a rash of anti-gay graffiti on cars and property of LGBTQ people last year in Provincetown raised some to question, "When do acts of property destruction lead to violence?"

The Laramie Project performs October 11 - 28, Thursdays thru Saturdays at 7pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets can be obtained online at provincetowntheater.org.

COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS #1:

The first of three "Community Conversations" will begin at 4:15pm, immediately following the matinee performance, Sunday, October 14. It's theme: "When Art Born of Violence and Oppression Creates Social Change."

Topic of discussion will center on the creation of The Laramie Project, the birth of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, their relevance then and now.

MODERATOR:

Christine Walker - executive director, Provincetown International Film Festival

PANELISTS:

Leigh Fondakowski - playwright/director, The Laramie Project

Jason Marsden - executive director, Matthew Shepard Foundation (attending remotely)

Tim McCarthy - activist/LGBTQ archivist; documentary filmmaker, Voices of the Abasiyazzi - Combatting Homophobia in Uganda

David Drake - playwright/performer, The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me; artistic director, Provincetown Theater

Two more "Community Conversations" will take place following the Sunday matinee performances on October 21 and 28 at 4:15 pm -- onstage at the Provincetown Theater, 238 Bradford Street, Provincetown, MA 02657. Upcoming topics include: "Safe Spaces" and "Law Enforcement and Hate Crimes." List of Panelists and Moderators in formation. Stay tuned for daily updates by following our pages on Instagram and Facebook.

The "Community Conversation" series is presented in cooperation with Provincetown International Film Festival, Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation. They will be open to the public, free of charge.

ABOUT THE PROVINCETOWN THEATER:

With a history inspired by the original Provincetown Players of 1916, the Provincetown Theater is owned and managed by the Provincetown Theater Foundation (PTF). The Provincetown Theater is a 501c3 not-for-profit performing arts institution, producing year-round live entertainment on the tip of Cape Cod at the Birthplace of American Theater. Sponsorship for the 2018 season is due, in large part, to generous support from Cape Air, WOMR, 102.3 Dunes FM, Hook, Strangers & Saints, Victor's, East End Market, Scott Allegretti, DDS, the Provincetown Tourism Fund, the Schoolman Trust, the Palette Fund, and in partnership with Provincetown Magazine.

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