One-off Australian production of The Laramie Project announced

The American Australian Association, in partnership with the US State Department, Tectonic Theater Project and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, is proud to commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia with the first Australian staged reading of the renowned US play by Moisés Kaufman, The Laramie Project, starring Dennis Shephard, father of the late Matthew Shepard On Tuesday, May 14, City Recital Hall.

The Laramie Project is the true story of the aftermath following the 1998 murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard in Wyoming, that catalysed revolutionary LGBTQIA+ legislative change in America, and ultimately saw US federal anti-hate crime legislation the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act signed into law by President Obama in 2009.

On the 25th anniversary of the play’s development and in commemoration of International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, this one-off Australian production is led by multi-award-winning director Dean Bryant and includes an all-star cast composed of New York’s Tectonic Theater Project and leading Australian theatrical talents: Tony Award-nominated Tony Sheldon, Casey Donovan, Benjamin Law, Zindzi Okenyo and Nicholas Brown.

In an Australian first, Dennis Shepard will perform as himself, delivering the powerful speech he made in a Wyoming courtroom 25 years ago. The collaboration between generations and nations holds a mirror to how far LGBTQIA+ rights have come, and how far they have to go. The evening performance will be followed by an on-stage Q&A with Dennis Shephard, Emmy Award-nominated writer and original cast member of The Laramie Project Greg Pierotti, and the project’s Creative Team, around the role of the arts within social justice movements.

The American Australian Association also announces the Tectonic Theater Project Playwriting Scholarship, specifically allocated for a self-identifying Queer Australian playwright to embark on a 2 week creative development in NYC, which includes observing a training with Tectonic Theater Project’s Moment Work Institute. The primary objective is for an Australian artist to immerse themself in Tectonic’s distinctive theatrical methodology, with the aim of harnessing this invaluable experience to craft a compelling new Australian play.

The selected playwright will be granted a dedicated writing period and a writing space with unparalleled views of Manhattan at the American Australian Association’s new headquarters. They will use this time to develop their first draft, with the submission of this draft the creative outcome of the scholarship in the hope of it having a future on Australian and American stages.

The scholarship includes:

  • $10,000 USD to fund playwright commission fee and 2 weeks accommodation in NYC
  • Qantas return economy airfare from Australia to New York
  • Observance of a Moment Work Institute training with Tectonic Theater Project
  • Access to a writing space at the American Australian Association headquarters in Manhattan.

Applications open at 9am AEST on Friday, May 17, International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. The scholarship activities will take place in 2025 with exact dates to be determined in conversation with The American Australian Association & Tectonic Theater Project.

Peter J Snee

Peter is a British born creative, working in the live entertainment industry. He holds an honours degree in Performing Arts and has over 12 years combined work experience in producing, directing and managing artistic programs & events. Peter has traversed the UK, Europe and Australia pursuing his interest in theatre. He is inspired by great stories and passionately driven by pursuing opportunities to tell them.

Peter J Snee

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