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'Laramie Project' opens at FGCU and includes Sunday afternoon panel discussion

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The Laramie Project opened last night in the TheatreLab at Florida Gulf Coast University. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. through February 23.

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Many of us remember the day we heard about the tragic story of Matthew Shepard. On October 6, 1998, Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die tied to a fence in the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. Matthew died six days later. His torture and murder became a watershed historical moment in America that highlighted many of the fault lines in our culture. A month after the murder, the members of Tectonic Theatre Production traveled to Laramie and conducted interviews with people from that town. From these interviews they wrote the play The Laramie Project.

Following the performance on Sunday, February 16 (at 4:30 p.m.), there will be a panel discussion called "Celebrate Love." It features The Laramie Project director and cast members, Dawn Larison from the Gender Equality Organization (an FGCU student organization), Megan Deremiah an officer on Gay Straight Alliance (an FGCU student organization), Todd Caraway (a trainer for Safe Zone, whose mission is to support and advocate for the LGBTIQ community) and a representative from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). The panel will focus on the play, reflecting on Matthew Shepard's legacy and work that is still to be done in ensuring everyone has the right to love.

This panel discussion is free and open to the public. Admission to the 2:00 p.m. performance is not required.

Tickets are just $7. Seating for performances of The Laramie Project is extremely limited and advanced reservations are encouraged. For tickets and information, please visit