Laramie takes on homophobia

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Shepparton Theatre Arts Group is calling all performing arts lovers to learn more about its upcoming show.

Performing The Laramie Project as part of Shepparton’s OUT in the OPEN Festival in November, the play explores many relevant themes surrounding homophobia, discrimination and racism.

The Laramie Project was first performed in 2000 and is based on community reaction to the 1998 murder of gay university student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming in the United States.

The performance draws on hundreds of interviews conducted with individuals from the town, as well as journal entries and published news reports.

STAG president Fiona Kennan said the group had been interested in performing the piece for quite some time and exploring the portrayal of epic theatre.

Ms Kennan said she was intrigued by the style of the project and the challenge of putting on such a performance.

‘‘A core of eight actors in the show present over 60 characters,’’ she said.

‘‘It is a very different piece of theatre.’’

STAG is also hosting the Winter Playreading Nights, giving arts enthusiasts an opportunity to stay engaged with the group in between performances.

Having already hosted two nights, Ms Kennan said the events had been well received.

‘‘It keeps interest up and keeps people coming along,’’ she said.

‘‘People can bring along their plays and have others read them aloud to learn what it sounds like with the different voices.’’

Ms Kennan said attendees were invited to come along and read or simply sit and listen.

‘‘It’s a good social gathering,’’ she said.

To learn more about being involved in The Laramie Project, an information night will be on Tuesday, July 16, at 7pm at 17 Wheeler St, Shepparton.

The final Winter Playreading Nights are on tonight and on July 30 from 7pm, also at 17 Wheeler St, Shepparton.