You may be familiar with costumed interpreters at historic sites. Or perhaps you have seen reenactors at Gettysburg or other Civil War battlefields. But only at Ford’s Theatre can you see history come to life through fully staged theatre productions.
On Lincoln’s 158th birthday, Ford’s Theatre reopened as a working theatre, presenting its first play since the evening of Lincoln’s assassination. Since that performance of John Brown’s Body on February 12, 1968, Ford’s has honored Lincoln’s legacy and his love of the performing arts for nearly 50 years.
More than 1,000 D.C.-area students attendour student matinee performances each year. LaMar Bagley, Ed.D., Director of Student Life for The SEED School of Washington, D.C., has brought his classes for 10 years. LaMar says the experience teaches his students critical thinking and allows them to draw correlations between the history told on stage and their own lives.
Ford’s Theatre patrons gathered in the historic theatre for the last Lincoln Legacy Project event of the 2013-2014 season: To Achieve and Cherish a Just and Lasting Peace: Envisioning a World Beyond Hate. The event reiterated the progress and unity that the LGBT community has experienced since Matthew Shepard’s 1998 murder.
On a rainy, chilly Friday night, a city came together to mark the 15th year since gay college student Matthew Shepard was abducted, tied to a fence, beaten and left to die by two assailants in Laramie, Wyoming. His murder claimed national and international attention and has become one of the most widely known anti-gay hate crimes in American history.
Following Matthew Shepard’s attack in 1998, complete strangers from all over the world reached out to his parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, to share their condolences, outrage, grief, love and support. Not Alone: The Power of Response pairs artist Jeff Sheng’s Where Matthew Lay Dying, a hauntingly beautiful composite photograph of the fence outside Laramie with a selection of the letters sent to the Shepard family.