The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later

'Laramie Project' returns to South Puget Sound '10 Years Later'

More than eight years since the South Puget Sound Community College Drama Department hosted The Laramie Project, a play highlighting the death of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. Now, the play returns in a new form as The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, revisiting the community and its ongoing struggle to cope with what happened that night. The play opens on Thursday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts.

On Nov. 6, 1998, Shepard left the Fireside Bar with Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. The following day he was discovered on a prairie at the edge of town, tied to a fence, brutally beaten, and close to death. Six days later Matthew Shepard died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins, Colo. Just eight days later, 10 members of Tectonic Theatre Project traveled to Laramie, Wyo. and conducted interviews with the people of the town.

Over the next year, the company returned to Laramie six times and conducted over 200 interviews. These texts became the basis for the play The Laramie Project.

Ten years later, on Sept. 12, 2008, five members of Tectonic returned to Laramie to try to understand the long-term effect of the murder. They found a town wrestling with its legacy and its place in history. In addition to revisiting the folks whose words riveted audiences in the original play, this time around, the company also spoke with the two murderers, McKinney and Henderson, as well as Matthew's mother, Judy Shepard. The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later is a bold new work, which asks the question, "How does society write its own history?"

The show runs from Aug. 5-8 and Aug. 12-15 at the Kenneth J. Minnaert Center for the Arts. The Aug. 8 and Aug. 15 performances begin at 2 p.m. All other performances begin at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for the general public and $10 for students, staff and faculty. Performances on Aug. 5 and Aug. 12 are “pay-what-you-can” nights. Tickets are available online at or by calling (360) 753-8586. For more information about the performances, go online at or call (360) 596-5411.