Fast, Furious Creativity Aug. 26 at High School 24 Hour Plays 

The William Inge Center for the Arts celebrates 15 years of fast and furious creativity at its annual High School 24-Hour Plays, Saturday Aug. 26, at Independence Community College (ICC). Students from numerous high schools will gather to produce six original scripts for a performance at 7 p.m. at the William Inge Theater.

Participants will be guided by guest directors, including: Amanda Kibler, education director of the Coterie Theater of Kansas City; Dana Gore, theater director based in Oklahoma; Lauren Bellatti, Belmont University fine arts graduate; and Sarah Owen, curator of the William Inge Collection at ICC and freelance director.

Two ICC Theater Department faculty will also direct: Ben Corbett, Associate Professor of Voice and Acting; and newly hired professor of theater Erick Wolfe.

Mentoring the High School student playwrights are Forrest Attaway, Artistic Director of Kokopelli Theatre of Kansas City; and Beaufield Berry-Fisher, Nebraska-based playwright.

Don’t miss this amazingly creative performance at 7 p.m. at the William Inge Theatre at Independence Community College on August 26, 2017.

The performance of six short plays runs about 75 minutes. Admission is $5 general, free to under 17 and ICC staff and students.  Phone (620) 332-5492 or visit for more information.


2000 Honoree A.R. Gurney Passes  

Honoree A.R. Gurney with Tribute Producer Mike Wood at the 2000 Inge Festival.


A.R. Gurney, the 2000 Honoree of the William Inge Theater Festival, has passed away at the age of 86. Also known by his nickname “Pete,” Mr. Gurney is the author of numerous celebrated plays such as The Dining Room, Love Letters, and The Cocktail Hour. Much of his stories were set in patrician surroundings, featuring characters of the upper class, comically as well as dramatically dealing with their fears and angst.

The opulent living-room settings for some of his plays are an ironic contrast to the settings of the plays by William Inge. Regardless of these differences, the Buffalo-born Mr. Gurney traveled to Independence in April 2000 to accept the Inge Festival’s Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award at Independence Community College. Festival patrons recall Mr. Gurney as gracious and generous in his visit to small-town Kansas.

Mr. Gurney attended Williams College, switching major from pre-med to English Literature. He later enlisted in the Navy for three years and returned to college to earn an MFA from Yale University. He became a professor of literature and humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Writing plays during the summer months, he started enjoying critical success in 1970.

Mr. Gurney was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, in 1985 for The Dining Room, and again in 1990 for Love Letters. The Inge Center, as it has with all its past Honorees whoa re deceased, will plant a tree in Mr. Gurney’s memory in the Playwrights’ Garden at Independence Community College.

He is survived by his wife, Molly, two sons, two daughters, an older sister, a younger brother, and eight grandchildren.

Beth Henley feted as 2017 Inge Festival Honoree

The stage is dark, parking lots empty, but our memory of the 36th Annual William Inge Theater Festival is “abundant”! We want to pay homage to each and all of the amazing people who took part in welcoming and celebrating our Honoree, Beth Henley.  We believe that our inspirational festival founder Margaret Goheen would be proud of how the Inge Festival continues bring America's outstanding writers to Independence to celerate their achievements.

Beth Henley joined the roster of renowned playwrights who have traveled to our small Kansas town, where we honor the memory of homegrown writer William Inge with a theatrical celebration each spring.  Beth Henley, a 1981 Pulitzer Prize-winner, joins a select company of acclaimed writers we’ve honored.

See the full press release here:

The Inge Festival experience: as described by the media

American Theatre magazine, April 21, 2015. "Donald Marguiles, Brooklyn Boy, Feted in William Inge's Hometown"

American Theatre magazine, April 28, 2016. "Inge Festival Brings the Theatre World to Independence"

New York Times, Aug. 5, 2009. "Out of Kansas, Into the World; A Trove of Inge Plays."

New York Times, April 22, 1998. "Frank Rich Journal; Kansas Night Music"

New York Times, April 24, 1996. "Hospitality Takes Center Stage at a Town's Festival for its Native-Son Playwright"

PBS News Hour, June 12, 2006 “William Inge Theater Festival Honors Playwrights

The Inge Newsletter:The Prompter

The Inge Center NewsletterThe Prompter has all the upcoming events and doings of our Inge Center family of artists. Check out the issues below! And you can always contact us at (620) 332-5492 or

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