BATS Theatre, Wellington

22/03/2012 - 05/04/2012

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland

28/08/2012 - 08/09/2012

Production Details

“A Pioneering and Powerful Stage Event” – TIME Magazine


From the creatives that brought you Munted, Sheep, The Laramie Project and Angels in America … Alacrity Productions present the New Zealand Premiere of THE LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER.

The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later (TLP:10) is the epilogue to the iconic Laramie Project. Edited together from interviews within the community of Laramie,Wyoming following the murder of Matthew Shepherd in an apparent hate-crime. 

The epilogue is 100% verbatim with 8 ofWellington’s finest actors playing a multitude of roles, from cops to priests, mothers to criminals. 

Heartfelt, humorous and provoking – TLP:10 is a work that calls for talk about social change towards prejudice, violence and intolerance. 

The story belongs to Laramie, but its message is Universal.

TLP: 10 shows us not only how far we’ve come, but how far we have still to go in the fight for true equality. It also illustrates the important role that freedom of speech plays in helping us to get there.         

Alacrity Productions is dedicated to mounting pioneering, modern works that explore theatrical language and form, promoting conversation with audiences on the social, political and human issues that effect us all.

Documentary/Verbatim theatre gives audience a more immediate, authentic performance than the common fictional piece.

While Alacrity Productions are a new company, they have proven success.

Co-Director Kate McGill recently directed a sellout season of MUNTED, another documentary show about the effect of the Christchurch Earthquake. McGill also was an intern with Tectonic Theater Project as they rehearsed the first production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT:10 YEARS LATER.

Daniel Williams – co-Director and Award Winning Designer – has worked with the likes of Long Cloud Youth Theatre and Almost A Bird Theatre Collective. He is recently designed the iconic NZ piece Michael James Manaia as part of the NZ International Arts Festival.

“Here’s a night out at the theatre for anyone who’s ever questioned the relevance of live performance.” – MUNTED Review, Lynn Freeman, Capital Times

“The highlight of the evening is Daniel Williams’ brilliant setting of a broken Hollywood Sign, which is described on its official website as a universal metaphor for ambition, success, glamour… The setting says it all.” – THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED Review, Laurie Atkinson, Dominion Post

“We’re leaving Laramie again. I find myself thinking about 10 years ago and wondering… in the end, how will this story finally be written”

@ BATS Theatre 
22nd March – 5th April 2012  

”An exceptionally strong production” – TLP:10 Review, Laurie Atkinson, Dominion Post   

Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland CBD 
Prices*:Dates & Times:
28 August – 8 September 2012
ADULT $20.00
Booking fees may apply 
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The Wellington cast features: Leon Wadham, Bryony Skillington, Martyn Wood, Jessica Robinson, Shadon Meredith, Victoria Abbott, Simon Kevin Leary, and Harriette Cowan. 

The Auckland cast features: Leon Wadham (TRIBES), Martyn Wood (Sexual Perversity in Chicago), Sophie Roberts (Wolf’s Lair), Shadon Meredith (TLP:10), Renee Lyons (Joseph and Mahina), Simon Kevin Leary (Mates and Lovers), Josephine Stewart-Tewhiu (Standstill) and Sophie Hambleton (Top Girls)

Aged Perfectly

Review by Matt Baker 29th Aug 2012

How do you measure change? This is one of the questions that drove the Tectonic Theater Project to revisit the town of Laramie, Wyoming, ten years after their incredibly successful theatrical project. It is an important question, especially regarding the content of the play, and after seeing Alacrity Productions’ version of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later I am not only relieved, but also grateful, that this play has been put in the hands of such dedicated practitioners. 

Scripted entirely verbatim from interviews as per the original, I am impressed at TTP’s ability to construct a sound narrative with very little need for their own comments to direct the story. Just when the play feels that it is going to be nothing more than a series of social commentaries, it changes pace with the introduction of Matthew Shepherd’s father (Shadon Meredith). Later, when the play begins to feel that it is becoming a series of legislative reports, we are introduced to the men responsible for Matt’s death. [More


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Thought-provoking, engaging; performed with rigour, class, dignity and pride

Review by Stephen Austin 29th Aug 2012

In November 1998 the murder of Matthew Shepard rocked the small town of Laramie Wyoming to its core.  Less than a month later The Tectonic Theater Project arrived and began interviewing residents, hoping to piece together a dramatic work that could be produced purely verbatim.  What they created has become one of the most widely performed pieces of documentary theatre in the world; it has been performed all over the world, in schools, colleges and universities and seen by over thirty million people.  

Ten years later the original team of devisers return to Laramie to catch up with the town, those both closely involved with the case and new to the town. They try to create a further glimpse of where this community is at from all sides of the case and how the media has affected the outcome in the meantime.  What is produced is bold, confronting theatre, that I think surprises even its creators in its outcomes.

There is a level of remove from the case here in New Zealand, but even here most are somewhat aware of the case and the implications around sexuality, drugs and political indifference that it sparked in the United States.  Director Katherine McGill allows this distance to impact on the production, which brings further clarity to the events. (I had not seen the earlier play and felt quite up-to-speed very early on in the duration of the performance.) 

And this is the area that the production excels in the most: clarity.  From the busy, frantic movements, through focussed accents and dialogue, to perfect shifts of tone and locale, this incisive staging manages to keep us engaged and alert to the issues, characters and ideas at the play’s core. 

Every single performer onstage seems alight with each character and changes between are effortless.  Not one performer stands out from another, all hit their notes perfectly and accents are as superb as they would be spoken by a native.  It would be churlish of me to single out any of the flaws in the playing, as they were few and could essentially be put down to opening night nerves. 

Few leave the tight triangular playing space and set, props and costume are sparse.  The fact that the two large black wall flats are dressed by all manner of jackets, hats, chairs and various other accoutrements serves as a very suitable metaphor for the disjointed community picking apart its hurt and reconstructing itself. 

My only grumble about any area of the production would be the sound design.  Music that was chosen was, while chillingly atmospheric, quite under amplified and didn’t really commit to the space so ultimately felt unnecessary to a production that relies purely on its actors to carry the characterisations.  The choice to present the two convicted murderers interviews with the sounds of prison doors slamming, to open and close the scenes, was too sensational, especially when we had just been reminded of the over-dramatic treatment from media outlets in coverage of the case. 

Overall though, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is an excellent work of ‘Verbatim Theatre’ performed with rigour, class, dignity and pride, by a company that is right on top of their game.  Thank you Alacrity Productions for a most thought provoking and engaging work.  This is theatre at its most relevant.


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High drama: facing up

Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 26th Mar 2012

[The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later] is an American documentary with a cast of eight all of whom play multiple roles, and one is always aware of time, place and community.

It is, of course, not a comedy, though it’s not without humour, but an account by a theatre troupe returning to Laramie, Wyoming to discover what changes had occurred in the community ten years after the brutal murder of a young gay man, Matthew Shepard, in 1998.

It is an epilogue to The Laramie Project which was performed last year in Wellington by Long Cloud Youth Theatre. This ‘return’ documentary uses recorded interviews with politicians, academics, and ordinary folk, as well as transcripts, and casual off the cuff remarks overheard at a petrol station or a diner.

The spectrum of views proffered boil down to yes changes have occurred but it wasn’t a homophobic murder but a robbery for drug money that went wrong. In other words Shepard’s murder was something to be swept under the carpet and let’s get on with life and hope that the distortions of the case on TV’s 20/20 become the accepted truth and the domestic partner benefits achieved at Wyoming University should demonstrate just how far the state has come!

The ending shows us very clearly how far not only American society but societies across the world have yet to travel in facing up to uncomfortable truths and injustices.

The cast do great work throughout and the two interviews conducted by actor Greg Pierotti (Martyn Wood) with the murderers (Simon Kevin Leary, Leon Wadham) held the Bats audience in pin-drop silence and are highlights in an exceptionally strong production. 


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Excellent ensemble meets important challenge head-on

Review by Lori Leigh 23rd Mar 2012

American company, Tectonic Theatre Project, presents a style of work known as verbatim theatre. Verbatim is created by interviewing individuals, recording their words and presenting precisely (hence the name) their stories and testimonies on stage for an audience; a form of documentary theatre. 

In 1998, members of Tectonic travelled to Laramie, Wyoming to engage with a community shaken and divided over the murder of gay Wyoming University student, Matthew Shepard, who was robbed, pistol-whipped, tied to fence, and left to die. The homophobic murder of Matthew Shepard launched a spurt of activism resulting in the advancement of gay rights, and Tectonic’s work in Wyoming produced a landmark piece of American theatre, The Laramie Project. (HBO subsequently produced a film of the play.)

Ten years later, the company returned to Laramieto investigate how time had changed the community’s perception of what has become America’s most famous hate crime. The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is the result, a play that explores how history reinvents itself and a community disavows and deals with shame.

Katherine McGill and Daniel Williams have assembled a balanced and stellar cast. Victoria Abbott, Harriette Cowan, Simon Kevin Leary, Shadon Meredith, Jessica Robinson, Bryony Skillington, Leon Wadham, and Martyn Wood make an excellent ensemble while meeting head-on the challenge of assuming anywhere from five to seven roles each over the course of the evening.  On opening night, there was a problem with diction, but perhaps this was the weight of the American regional dialects?

Both of the jailhouse scenes are riveting as Matthew’s murderers Russel Henderson (LeonWadham) and Aaron McKinney (Simon Kevin Leary) speak about themselves and reflect upon the killing.  Wadham’s performance creates an almost disturbing empathy for Henderson, and Leary’s portrayal of McKinney is stark and detailed.  Juxtaposed with the quick tempo of many other scenes, the directors capture a haunting stillness in these moments that is gripping.

Another moving performance is Jessica Robinson as Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard. While asked about her evolution from quiet mother to outspoken activist, tears wash down a determined and powerful face.

Daniel Williams’ design serves as a visual metaphor for the pristine appearance many of Laramie’s residents would like to project. White chairs and tables with myriad costumes and props hanging from the walls of Bats allow for speedy shifts in character and space. The transformative nature of the tables is especially promising in the first half of the play with the actors using the pieces to create such environments as a bus shelter or a whiteboard in a university classroom.

An element that does not aid the production as successfully is the sound design. Almost cinematic in nature (and certainly melodramatic) music or sound underscores some scenes, annoyingly suggesting to the audience an ‘appropriate’ emotional response. 

At times the production falls prey to the flaws of the script. The Laramie Project will always be one of the most important works in American theatre, a monumental piece of art, both for its subject matter and as an exemplar of documentary theatre. However, like many a sequel, the Laramie Project: 10 Years Later sometimes proves disappointing – often preachy – in light of its parent play.

Still, “Hell is Real Ask Matt” reads one of the signs carried by a protester outside the New York debut of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later in 2009; proof enough that in whatever form it takes this work should and must go on.


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