The Laramie Project in Jefferson County

The award-winning theater department of Jefferson High School (located just across the border in West Virginia) will be presenting The Laramie Project next week. Shows are February 7th through the 11th (click on the graphic for times and ticket information).

Jefferson High School
4141 Flowing Springs Road
Shenandoah Junction, WV 25442
Directions and map

Kudos to these students and the drama department at Jefferson for having the courage to do this. They also seem to be getting some significant support from the community – the production is funded in part by the Arts and Humanities Allaince of Jefferson County, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the West Virginia Commission of the Arts.

Fortunately, they don’t have to worry about the sociopathic Phelps clan showing up to “protest,” as Westboro Baptist Church has a previous engagement to bother the good people of York, Pennsylvania that weekend.

Westboro Baptist Church plans to protest York Suburban Senior High School’s production of “The Laramie Project” and six area churches that they allege let the “propaganda play” be put on, the group said in a new release.

The school administration is unimpressed. “People have the right to express themselves in America,” said York Superintendent William Hartman. (I hope the Loudoun County School Board and administration are taking notes. People do have the right to express themselves. This is not to be confused with the right to censor others’ expression.)

The very presentation of this project is along the themes (of diversity and conflict), and is about the right to expression and understanding. We’re not promoting any lifestyle. We are doing a play that allows people to openly discuss what goes on in America…

…Plays are picked for themes and how much it would stretch and challenge the members of the drama club and actors. This met our acceptable standards.

In a way, having screamers like the Phelps around is a good thing, as this student points out.

As a cast member of the production, I am proud to be part of something so meaningful. The cast and crew have worked diligently towards reaching a higher level of understanding and tolerance through our work as actors. The message of this play will easily overcome any slight disturbance out on the streets, and I encourage everyone to come and see this play at our school, in a safe and accepting environment.

This play and the Phelps protestors (Notice there was no “reverend” or “pastor” before his name) have got the students of York Suburban talking. This issue is one which is rarely talked about freely in my school and it makes me overjoyed to see my teachers and peers discussing it. This is just the first step to deeper understanding and acceptance.

These kids are the future, and there’s absolutely nothing the anti-gay screamers can do about it. Ain’t life grand?

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3 Responses to The Laramie Project in Jefferson County

  1. Stephanie says:

    As a local area resident of York, Pa, and someone who will be actively participating in viewing the York Suburban production of this show, I appreciate this post. The Phelps are proof that productions like these should be done.

  2. Steve Whiteley says:

    A big thank you goes out to the wingnuts from Kansas as their “protest” of 15-20 people was countered by a throng of over 200 outside the school. Inside, we had a SRO house. As a teacher at York Suburban and a cast member (Doc O’Conner) I was proud of the students and moved by their performances. How great it was that in two nights over 1700 people came to a high school drama club play! Thanks for getting people to come see the play and hear the story.

  3. David says:

    Good for you, York Suburban. Having the poor Phelps attack your community was a blessing – it makes everything so much clearer.

    The students at Jefferson did a great job, too, and put together a wonderful panel for discussion after the performance. We are lucky to have a couple living in our area who were in Laramie at the time of the incident and are portrayed in the play.

    Thank you to the drama clubs and school administrators who stood their ground and wouldn’t be shut up by bullies. You show others how it should be done.