PULLMAN, Wash. — The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Allies Program at Washington State University will commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, a young college student murdered in the university town of Laramie, Wyo., with a benefit production of “The Laramie Project.”

The presentation is open to the public and will be in the Compton Union Building Auditorium at 6:00 p.m. Oct.9, 7 p.m. Oct. 10 and Oct. 11, and 2 p.m. Oct. 12. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for non-students. Donations also will be accepted at the door and will benefit agencies such as Alternatives to Violence on the Palouse and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, a national organization.

The Laramie Project, a play by Moisés Kaufman, chronicles the interviews of the townspeople of Laramie, Wyo., which took place after Shepard’s death in 1998. Time magazine called it “one of the best plays of the year,” and the San Francisco Chronicle labeled it “a bracing, wholly originally and deeply affecting piece of theater. It radiates integrity, an aching collective need to understand incomprehensible events.  It portrays an American town with grace, truth, theatrical economy, compassion, wit, despair and love. [It proves that] theater can serve as witness to our deeds.  It’s we who must answer one by one, for what we all create and what we destroy together.”

The Oct. 9 play performance is being coordinated with the speaking engagement of Romaine Patterson, a close friend of Shepard, who will speak on the “power of one” to make a difference.  Ms. Patterson is best known for her work combating the anti-gay sentiments of Rev. Fred Phelps whose followers protested at the Shepard murder trials.  In 1999, Patterson founded the Angel Action, an organization that is now used all over the world to combat hate through peaceful demonstration. 

For questions about the performance or how to donate, contact Heidi Stanton at (509) 335-8841 or hstanton@wsu.edu.