I am Head of Drama at an all-boys school in Manchester, England, and we are currently in the middle of our production week of The Laramie Project which I have directed.
The school has traditionally staged musicals, Shakespeare and “classics” and this production is something of a departure. Eight boys (and two girls from our neighbouring girls school) are taking on over 200 costume changes, with 320 light and sound cues, in an exposed production with the audience in and around them.
We have never told our cast that this is a “challenging play” to stage. They have risen to it with style and aplomb. Their maturity and passion for the play has been astonishing, and the response from audiences has been absolutely overwhelming. People who had never heard of Matthew Shepard are frequently leaving in tears and saying that they have had a transformative experience. It’s also heartening to see that, while musicals are n “easy sell” to ticket buyers, plays like this are less so. We have sold out for all of our performances this week!
This is a brilliant piece of work, and I am thrilled that we are doing our bit and passing on the message in a production which is really connecting with our school community. And I just thought you might like to know.
Head of Curriculum Drama
The Manchester Grammar School
Laramie Project Production Images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/manchestergrammar/show/