The Laramie Project

With June being Pride Month and Shawnigan having just celebrated Pride Week, there have been many opportunities for those around campus to learn about, support, and experience what Pride represents and means to different people. While many associate Pride with colourful rainbows and joyfully exuberant events, there are also some challenging and difficult discussions surrounding the firsthand experiences of LGBTQ2+ people.
This year's Theatre 11/12 class set out to do just that with the very impactful play, The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. Written in 2000 about the reaction of the town of Laramie, Wyoming, to the 1998 kidnapping, beating, and murder of a gay University of Wyoming student, the play drew from hundreds of interviews conducted with inhabitants of the town, the theatre company members’ journal entries, and published news reports.
A rather heavy topic and with content that can be difficult for some, the play is a poignant reminder of the hate crimes many LGBTQ2+ experience and is often used as an avenue to teach about prejudice and tolerance in schools. Based on an actual event, it is a powerful way to spread awareness and educate students. Our theatre class put on three performances last week; a Friday matinee for the Grade 8 to 10 students, an evening performance for the Grade 11s, and a Saturday evening for the Grade 12s. While optional for students to attend, the performances delivered were very powerful, and the maturity shown while presenting tough subject matter like this was admirable. The evening shows welcomed members of staff and the public. For these students, the process of delivering such a sensitive topic was a learning experience unto itself.
We acknowledge with respect the Coast Salish Peoples on whose traditional lands and waterways we live, learn and play. We are grateful for the opportunity to share in this beautiful region, and we aspire to healthy and respectful relationships with those who have lived on and cared for these lands for millennia.