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. 

The 2018 William Inge Theater Festival
takes place May 9-12!, with playwright Honoree Carlyle Brown.!

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The 2017 William Inge Theater Festival
Events in Review

Fringe at the Inge –Hollywood meets Independence: commune with our guest artists at a local gathering spot.  Booth Hotel Wednesday, Brother’s Thursday, Uncle Jack’s Friday. Just purchase a beverage, no ticket required!    

New Play Lab – 36 new plays are given their first reading for Festival audiences and our Master writer panels.  Participate in a thrilling, first-ever hearing of a new play, hear expert commentary and perspective on the author’s work, and see if it matches your own feelings about their play.  Three locations: Presbyterian Church basement, Wesley Center and Methodist Chapel, Methodist Church; Wed., Thurs., Fri., plays start every hour on the hour, at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, and 4:30 p.m.  Day pass gets you into your choice of plays, each day. 

Hometown Cookout – Experience our exceptional homegrown Midwestern hospitality, and meet the writers and artists of the New Play Lab, in this casual gathering outdoors on the patio at the ICC student union. Wednesday, April 19 at 6:00 p.m. 

Meet our Masters – Our PlayLab Master writers and special guests are introduced, and each reads a favorite piece from a new work. Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m., William Inge Theatre, Independence Community College.

Student Workshops - Each of our Festival guest artists teaches workshops in improvisation, stage combat, acting on camera, voice, movement, and contemporary performance practice.  Work one on one with Broadway professionals on your monologue, song or scene. Workshop details will be announced on our "workshops" tab, as Festival casting is completed. Thursday,  8:00 a.m. - Noon  p.m., Friday, 8:00- 12:30 p.m.

Otis Guernsey New Voices Winner – Premiere concert reading of a new play by our Otis Guernsey New Voices Award Winner, featuring special guest artists. Award ceremony follows. Thursday, April 20 , 7:30 p.m., in the William Inge Theatre.

HS and College Student Days: Performance, voice, movement, improvisation, acting, and writing workshops and one-on-one coaching with our Masters and Guest Artists, Thursday & Friday mornings, every hour on the hour, 8:00-noon. 

Conversation with Beth Henley – Henley sits down for a one-on-one candid public interview with conference chair Dr. Jackson Bryer, a Henley devotee. Questions will be taken from the audience at the end of their talk. Taped for the Inge Collection at ICC Library, streamed live on Howlround. Friday, April 21, 9:00-10:30 a. m 

Scholars’ Conference – Hosted by Dr. Jackson Bryer: seven Scholars, who are experts on Henley and Inge works, present papers on their writing. Academic Building, Independence Community College, Saturday afternoon, 1:30-4:30 p.m.

36th Festival Tribute: Bright Desire: A Tribute to Beth Henley – A multi-media presentation, featuring video interviews with Henley and her original collaborators, and live scenes from her greatest works, performed by guest artists from Broadway to Hollywood. Created by Susan Cinoman, Karen Carpenter and Lonny Quattlebaum. Friday, April 21 at 7:30p.m., William Inge Theatre, Independence Community College. 

High School 10 Minute Play Competition – Our region’s most talented student writers newest short plays are performed by their peers, to compete for cash scholarships in playwriting, and acting. Adjudicated by our Festival guest artists. Open to the public. Saturday morning, April 22.

Inge’s “Picnic” – An old-fashioned picnic lunch with honoree Beth Henley and our Festival guest artists, featuring the ICC Jazz Band; at the band shell in Riverside Park, a convenient walk from the Inge sculptures and the carousel. Saturday, April 22, 12:30pm - 1:30 pm.

Inge’s Independence – Guided tour of Inge’s historic hometown, commentary provided by Inge specialists. Tour seating is limited. Tickets sold separately, post-picnic Saturday, April 22. Hourly.

Scenes at the Inge House – A selection of Inge scenes, performed in the setting which inspired them, the historic Inge Family home. Seating is limited. See schedule for various performance times. Tickets sold separately, three performances on Saturday.

Gala Dinner – Celebrating Beth Henley, featuring live musical entertainment on Saturday night. Includes presentation of the Margaret Goheen Award. Saturday, April 22.  Cocktails at 6:00 p.m., Awards Dinner begins at 7:00pm, Civic Center.  Please Note: Tickets to the Gala must be reserved no later than April 10th.


2017 Festival Sked for Pub FINAL 4-13-17.xlsx


What the media has to say about the Inge Festival: 

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"

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

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"


What do we do the rest of the year? Read our Newsletters.

The Inge Center Newsletter The 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


Issue 4


Issue 3


Issue 2


Issue 1