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Emerson Faculty and Staff to Moderate Panel Discussions Based on ArtsEmerson’s Laramie Residency

Carole Simpson

Carole McFall
September 17, 2010

The inaugural season of ArtsEmerson: The World on Stage kicks off with the Boston debut of the New York–based Tectonic Theater Project’s works, The Laramie Project and the world premiere of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber.

In light of these important premieres, ArtsEmerson is offering two FREE panel discussions to examine the impact of this seminal work. These discussions will feature representatives from the Department of Justice, Tectonic Theater Project, Matthew Shepard Foundation, and other civil rights groups. Community leaders will also be in attendance, including Katherine Patrick (daughter of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick).

The panels will take place September 21 and 22 from 6:30 to 8:00 pm in the Bright Family Screening Room at the Paramount Center (559 Washington Street). Admission is free, but registration is required. To register, please visit ArtsEmerson website and click on the Laramie Residency.


About the Plays

On October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die, tied to a fence in the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. Ten years after interviewing Laramie residents and creating the ground-breaking play The Laramie Project, the original team returned to discover how Laramie had changed: politically, socially, religiously, and educationally. The result is the eye-opening epilogue, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. The plays will be performed at the Cutler Majestic Theatre from September 24 to October 2.


Panel Details

Tuesday, September 21: The struggle for GLBT rights and protections

Discussion will include reaction to the Shepard/Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, civil rights in Massachusetts and across the country, and The Laramie Project’s impact on awareness. Panelists include: Katherine Patrick (Deval Patrick’s daughter), Matt Nosanchuk (Department of Justice), Greg Reiner (Tectonic Theater Project), Karen Loewy (GLAD), Thomas Howard Jr. (Matthew Shepard Foundation), Ryan Andaluz (GLAAD), David Wilson (HRC), and a representative of the Anti-Defamation League. The moderator will be former ABC news anchor and current Leader-in-Residence in Emerson College’s Journalism Department Carole Simpson.

"It is my pleasure to moderate a panel exploring the plight of the LBGT communities," said Simpson.  "Their problems of discrimination, physical abuse and exclusion have been overlooked too long.  The issues need to come 'out of the closet' into the light of public understanding. I hope I can facilitate that.  I lost a close relative to AIDS.  Through him I learned firsthand the difficulties he had by being 'different.'"

Wednesday, September 22: Be a part of the solution: Taking action against hate

Discussion will focus on successful tolerance programs in schools and communities, bullying and its prevention, and the impact of school productions of Laramie on students and the community. Panelists include: Pam Garramone (PFLAG), Abe Rybeck (The Theater Offensive), David Gammons (Concord Academy), Bethany Nelson (Emerson faculty member and an expert on bullying prevention), Greg Reiner (Tectonic Theater Project), Thomas Howard Jr. (Matthew Shepard Foundation), Frank Pantano (GLSEN), and Penny Larson (The Crossing). The moderator will be Chris Serwacki, advisor to Emerson’s student group EAGLE (Emerson Alliance of Gays, Lesbians, and Everyone).

Chris Serwacki

Emerson's Alliance for Gays, Lesbians and Everyone (EAGLE) Advisor Chris Serwacki

For more details on opening week activities, visit www.artsemerson.org »