Inge Center News


Kara Lee Corthron is 2019 Inge Festival New Voices Winner

Photo by: Jody ChristophersonPlaywright Kara Lee Corthron is the recipient of the 2019 William Inge Theatre Festival’s Otis Guernsey New Voices in the American Theatre Award, which recognizes substantial early contributions to the contemporary American stage.

The award is named for the late Otis L. Guernsey, respected theater critic and scholar. As editor of the annual “Best Plays” anthology, he was a champion of new plays, and a longtime attendee and advocate of the Inge Festival.

Corthron will be presented with the Award at the 38th annual Inge Festival, May 22-25, at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. Corthron’s new play What Are You Worth? will be presented as a reading during the festival, directed by Kansas City Repertory Theatre Artistic Associate and Resident Director Chip Miller.

The Festival’s namesake is William Inge, an Independence native who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Picnic) and Oscar for Best Screenplay (Splendor in the Grass). The festival is designated by the state legislature as the Official Theater Festival of Kansas.

“We’re thrilled to recognize Kara’s astute, nuanced, and unflinching voice, which is critical for our time,” said William Inge Center for the Arts Producing Director, Hannah Joyce-Hoven. “It is fitting that we recognize this significant voice through the New Voices Award.”

Previous Otis L. Guernsey New Voices in the American Theater Award winners include Katori Hall, Lauren Gunderson, Samuel D. Hunter, David Ives, Theresa Rebeck, J.T. Rogers, and Jen Silverman, among many other theatre luminaries of our time.

Kara Lee Corthron is a New York City-based playwright, author of young adult novels, and writer for television. Audiences in the Kansas City area most recently saw her Welcome to Fear City at KC Rep earlier this year. Additional theatrical productions include Listen for the Light at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, and AliceGraceAnon at New Georges in New York. She is also an active writer in other mediums, including the young adult novel The Truth of Right Now from Simon & Schuster/Simon Puls, and Daughters of Jubilation, coming this summer.

For television, she currently writes for the Netflix drama You. 

The New Voices recognition at the Inge Festival adds to her many prestigious awards, including: Parents’ Choice Gold Award for The Truth of Right Now; the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award; Princess Grace Award; Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Prize (three-time recipient); and numerous other honors and fellowships. She is an alumna of Julliard and there is more to be found at her website,

Previous Otis L. Guernsey New Voices in the American Theater Award winners are: Adam Bock; Catherine Butterfield; Brian Burgess Clark; Joe DiPietro; Mark St. Germain; Katori Hall; Lynne Kaufman; Lauren Gunderson; Mary Hanes; David Hirson; Samuel D. Hunter; David Ives; Melanie Marnich; Jason Milligan; Carlos Murillo; Dael Orlandersmith; Mary Portser; Theresa Rebeck; J.T. Rogers; Jen Silverman; Mat Smart; James Still; Catherine Trieschmann; and Dana Yeaton.


Octavio Solis in the news

City Lights Publishers have recently released Octavio Solis' new memoir Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border. Retablos was just included in the "Best Reviewed Books of the Week" list by Literary Hub. And an interview with Octavio discussing the book was also featured this week on the PBS NewsHour


2018 Inge Festival Photos

Visit the photo gallery to see pictures from the 2018 William Inge Theater Festival honoring playwright Carlyle Brown:



Inge Festival to partner with KCACTF, Region V

The William Inge Center for the Arts will partner with the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Region V to offer scholarship awards to four student playwrights whose plays will be featured in the 2019 festival New Play Lab. 

Producing director Hannah Joyce-Hoven and associate producer Chuma Gault have been invited to the Region V Festival in Sioux Falls, SD in January 2019 to present the awards as well as to offer theater workshops and respond to performances and plays. 

Two one-act plays and two 10-minute plays will be selected.

Theater students and faculty from hundreds of colleges across KS, MO, IA, MN, NE, ND, and SD will be in attendance. This partnership has the potential to boost the Inge Festival attendance of college theater students and faculty from across the region.


Chuma Gault will direct festival Tribute

Associate Festival Producer Chuma Gault will direct the William Inge Theater Festival Tribute to Octavio Solis. Chuma has been involved with the Inge Center as a guest artist/director for festival tributes to Carlyle Brown, Beth Henley, and Arthur Kopit. For the 35th Inge Festival, he starred in the 50th anniversary production of "Where's Daddy?" by William Inge. 

Inge Center producing director Hannah Joyce-Hoven says, "Chuma is a deeply intuitive and multi-talented theater artist. I have worked with him on a number of projects and every time I appreciate his perspective and thoughtful approach. He loves Independence - its residents and its landscape. I am so happy to bring him back as a creative partner to celebrate Octavio and his work."

Chuma is a Los Angeles based theater artist. He first came to Independence in 2011 as an actor in the original cast to develop EM Lewis' new play "Magellanica", a five-hour epic which had its world premiere last season at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, OR.

Acting awards: Los Angeles Stage Raw Awards for "The Gun Show" by EM Lewis (Moving Arts) outstanding solo performance nomination (2015); LA WEEKLY Awards (Best Male Performance) nominee for "Freedom Summer" by Stephen Sachs (Fountain Theater), (Best Male Performance) "Tree" by Julie Hébert (Ensemble Studio Theatre - Los Angeles) which also garnered a LA Drama Critics Circle nomination for Best Male Performance.  Directing credits include: scenes from "Abundance" by Beth Henley for the 2017 Inge festival, 2018 Kilroy's List play "Hang Man" (workshop) by Stacy Osei-Kuffour, "Party Girls" by Tira Palmquist (Moving Arts' The Car Plays/Segerstrom Center for the Arts), "Phenom" by Charlayne Woodard (The Car Plays/La Jolla Playhouse), "The Guard Will Escort You to Ruff-Ruff" by Carole Real (Ensemble Studio Theatre - Los Angeles) Film credits: Chuma plays Nina Simone's husband Andrew in the Cynthia Mort-directed biopic "Nina". TV: Chuma recently starred in the drama "Game of Silence" (NBC)