University of the Fraser Valley

UFV Theatre brings the story of Matthew Shepard to the stage with The Laramie Project

UFV Theatre brings the story of Matthew Shepard to the stage with The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project, directed by assistant professor Shelley Liebembuk, will hit the UFV Theatre stage from March 23-April 1. This highly anticipated play is the second production of UFV Theatre’s 2022/23 season and it will challenge and engage audiences.

Created by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theatre Project, this verbatim theatre piece is constructed from the transcripts of over 200 interviews, conducted in the aftermath of the brutal murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man, in Laramie, Wyoming, in 1998. The interviews were transcribed, edited, and structured into a three-act play by members of the theatre company who worked to honour the voices of those they interviewed, as well as to artistically weave the stories into a coherent narrative. The piece reveals a community grappling with violence, responsibility, and healing; and showcases how theatre can be a brave space for us to engage with this together.

The Laramie Project is directed by Shelley Liebembuk, an assistant professor at UFV Theatre. Her focus is on praxis-based learning and inspiring creative and critical engagement in the studio and the seminar. In directing this show, Liebembuk hopes to generate space to support the 2SLGBTQ+ community, call-in implicit and explicit homophobia, and engage in meaningful conversation.

All students were invited to be part of the play, without an audition barrier. Each cast member is playing between 5 to 10 characters, taking on the acting challenge of performing a variety of real people, with distinct worldviews. Liebembuk’s goal is to steward the students to engage with the complexity of the work thoughtfully and to build their skills for a sustainable, collective engagement with impactful theatre.

“Theatre is an incredibly powerful and immediate way of engaging a group of people, as it allows artists to meet an audience in real-time,” says Liebembuk. “For me, at its best, theatre uses this immediacy to navigate current socio-political issues across a thoughtful and complex web of refraction and whimsy, that can lead to meaningful community conversation. I also love the collaborative process of making theatre, which melds the creative energy of so many artists, from writers and dramaturgs to actors and directors, to designers and the production crew.”

The student cast features Alia Von Riesen, Caitlyn Shaw, Claire Holden, Clement Cameron, Esha Kumar, Keegan Zaporozan, Madalyn Clempson, Maximus Richards Rewt, Raven Turchinetz, Shivam Duggal, and Taya Viger.

The student production crew includes Angel Davis (hair and makeup), Christopher Benedicto (stage manager), Frankie Fowle (projection designer), Hunter Holden (set and props), Lisa Patetta (costume designer), Phong Duong (lighting design), Sara Oliva Morales (ASM, runner, and dresser), Sterling Kai Pollock (assistant director), and Ye-Hsuan Huang (Doris) (sound design).

Students are also mentored by UFV associate professor Parjad Sharifi, wardrobe manager Heather Robertson, technical director Jared Raschke, and production manager Giuseppe Condello.

Cost: $5 for students and seniors. $10 for the public.

Opening night: Thurs, March 23 at 7 pm.

Regular performances:

Friday, March 24 at 7 pm.

Saturday, March 25 at 2 pm.

Thursday, March 30 at 7 pm.

Friday, March 31 at 7 pm.

Saturday, April 1 at 2 pm.

Seat reservations are available on Eventbrite:

Please be advised that early reservations via Eventbrite are encouraged as seating will be extremely limited. All bookings can be made through Eventbrite and seat registration ends 2 hours before the performance start times. Performances will be held in the Performance Studio, Building D, 105, Abbotsford Campus, University of the Fraser Valley, 33844 King Road.

Contact for inquiries.

Follow the UFV School of Creative Arts @ufvsoca on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube.

About the 2022-2023 Season of Theatre at UFV

Devised Theatre Showcase 2023

April 2023

The Devised Theatre Showcase is the final project presented by UFV Theatre’s fourth-year Devised Theatre class and is a chance for students to apply everything they have learned in the course. Audiences can expect a brand-new production devised by students.

For more information about UFV Theatre productions visit www.