The Laramie Project was the first production put on by Meraki Theatre Productions, and it was well-received by audiences with a three-night, sold-out run at the Rachel Browne Theatre from May 29 to 31, 2018.
Taylor Gregory founded Meraki Theatre Productions and was inspired to bring The Laramie Project to Winnipeg after she had the opportunity to assistant direct the show in Athens, Greece, in 2017.
“It just reminded me about what an important show it is,” Gregory says. “It represents everyone coming together and equality and standing up (to) injustice.”
The Laramie Project is a verbatim play based on interviews with residents in the town of Laramie, Wyoming, where in 1998, Matthew Shephard was murdered for being openly gay.
The play “asks the question about how this town could raise two fairly young boys ... to commit such a heinous hate crime on another child,” Gregory says.
Meraki’s production was timely, as it ran alongside Winnipeg Pride 2018 and marked 20 years since Shephard’s murder.
“Unfortunately, with the state of the world right now, it’s such a relevant piece. Even though 20 years has passed, the hope is that a show written 20 years ago isn’t about current issues,” Gregory says.
Proceeds from The Laramie Project (after covering theatre costs) were donated by Meraki. Half went to the Matthew Shephard Foundation, and half went to Rainbow Resource Centre toward their BLiNK program.
Gregory says that Meraki – which in Greek means “doing something with soul, creativity, or love” – is working on being more active in the community, and that they volunteer with BLiNK every second month. They’re also working on a production of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, with hopes of running that show during Pride 2019.
See more at merakitheatre.com.