‘The Laramie Project’ opens tonight in Williamsburg

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(Courtesy William and Mary)

The College of William and Mary’s Department of Theatre, Speech and Dance will open its 2016-17 season tonight with a production of “The Laramie Project.”

According to a press release from the college, the play follows the aftermath of “one of the most notorious gay hate crimes” in American history.

The production depicts stories of citizens from the small town of Laramie, Wyoming, where a gay university student named Matthew Shepard was beaten to death in 1998. His body was found tied to a fence in a remote part of town, the release stated.

According to the release, the drama was written and conceived by members of New York’s Tectonic Theater Project, who traveled to the town of Laramie to interview witnesses and residents. The show combines the accounts provided in hundreds of interviews and introduces the audience to more than 70 characters affected by the murder.

“The Laramie Project” will run from Sept. 22-25 in Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall on William and Mary’s campus.  The show will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Each performance will be followed by a discussion led by a different member of William and Mary’s faculty.  Tickets can be purchased at the Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall, over the phone at (757)-221-2674, or at William and Mary’s website.  Tickets cost $15 for adults, $12 for military, $7 for students, and $10 for groups of 10 or more.