Cultural, civic and religious organizations are pulling their resources together to present Ford’s Theatre Society’s production of The Laramie Project. Due to the government shutdown, performances of The Laramie Project at Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site through October 6 were canceled. The Society found an alternative space to present two free performances of the play.
Performances are Friday, Oct. 4, and Tuesday, Oct. 8, at 7:30 p.m., at the First Congregational United Church of Christ (945 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001), only a block away from Ford’s Theatre. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Free tickets will be distributed on site on a first-come basis. House will open for seating at 7 p.m. When Ford’s Theatre is allowed to reopen, The Laramie Project will resume as scheduled.
“On Tuesday, October 1, the Society was told that we cannot perform in Ford’s Theatre during the government shutdown, even though we are a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that does not use any federal funding or federal employees for our programming,” explained Ford’s Theatre Society Director Paul R. Tetreault. “We are grateful to our downtown neighbors at the First Congregational United Church of Christ for inviting us through their doors to tell this important story. This weekend will mark 15 years since Matthew Shepard’s beating. That milestone will arrive regardless of what happens in Congress. We felt it was vital to find a way to continue telling this story now.”
As the government shutdown progresses, the Ford’s Theatre Society will be in touch with patrons regarding the status of their performances and programming.
The Center for Education and Leadership, which is owned and operated by the Society, is currently presenting Not Alone: The Power of Response (Second Floor Gallery: Center for Education and Leadership, 514 Tenth Street NW) through November 3, 2013. Following Matthew Shepard’s attack in 1998, complete strangers from all over the world, moved by the horrific circumstances of Matthew’s death, reached out to his parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, to share their condolences, outrage, grief, love and support.
Not Alone: The Power of Response pairs artist Jeff Sheng’s Where Matthew Lay Dying, a hauntingly beautiful composite photograph of the fence outside Laramie—taken from Matthew’s perspective—with a selection of the letters sent to the Shepard family in order to explore the themes of empathy, community response and personal responsibility.
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.
The mission of Ford’s Theatre Society is to celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and explore the American experience through theatre and education. For its accomplishments, the organization was honored in 2008 with the National Medal of Arts, the highest award given by the U.S. government to artists, arts institutions and arts patrons.
For more information on Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, visit www.fords.org.