Considering Matthew Shepard

A collaboration of Austin PBS, KLRU-TV and Conspirare that uses art as an inspiration for the higher understanding of the human condition.


About the Production

Austin PBS, in collaboration with Conspirare, is bringing Considering Matthew Shepard to television. Austin PBS has assembled an award-winning team to help adapt the three-part oratorio into a unique theatrical experience for the small screen. The Considering Matthew Shepard television adaptation will be formatted for a 90-minute broadcast and distributed nationally to PBS stations in 2018 to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Shepard’s death.

Considering Matthew Shepard is a Grammy-nominated three-part oratorio composed by Craig Hella Johnson. The work is an evocative and compassionate musical response to the murder of Matthew Shepard. On October 6, 1998, University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, beaten, and left to die, in what became an infamous act of brutality, and one of America’s most notorious anti-gay hate crimes. Shepard’s murder ultimately led to the creation of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and provided a catalyst for legislation that expanded the definition of a hate crime to include sexual orientation. In 2009, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Composer Craig Hella Johnson had a profoundly personal reaction to both the murder and its resonance. The Shepard family and Foundation engaged with Johnson in the creation of the work, and allowed the use of fragments from Shepard’s personal diary.

The special will be accompanied by outreach and engagement programs, providing opportunities — facilitated by public television stations — for communities to participate in a national conversation about acceptance, compassion and bullying.

Watch Considering Matthew Shepard online at

Screenings & Educational Outreach

Austin PBS, Conspirare, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation are working together to make resources and screening copies of the program available to individuals and organizations interested in creating dialogue in their communities around the themes of understanding, compassion, and acceptance.

Please fill out the following form if you are interested in hosting/organizing your own community screening or receiving free educational resources on the program.

Thank you for your interest in Considering Matthew Shepard. We'll be in touch with more information soon.


For more information on Considering Matthew Shepard contact:
Sara Robertson, Austin PBS,