Inge Blog

Friday
Oct122012

“The Benders” Murders Subject of new play at Inge Center

On the Kansas frontier of the early 1870s, the Bender family committed mass murders—which is the unusual setting for a play-in-progress, coming to the William Inge Center for the Arts at Independence Community College.

Actors from New York and Los Angeles join regionally based actors for a public reading of this developmental script titled “The Benders” on Saturday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. at the William Inge Theatre in Independence, Kansas.

“The Benders” will be preceded by a second play development reading, of a new musical, titled “My Dark and Scurvy Heart.”  This adult comedy, by current Inge House playwright-in-residence Adam Szymkowicz, composer Dan Moses Schreier and lyricist Matt Sherwin, performs at 2 p.m. Sat., Nov. 3.  The Inge Center is one of America’ leading rural arts centers and has produced nearly 50 professional new play development workshops since 2002. 

Anne Phelan is the author of “The Benders,” and returns to Independence for her second Inge House residency. It was during her first residency that Phelan came across the story of “The Bloody Benders.”

Their murders were America’s first mass-media serial killer story.  In 1871, the national press converged on the Bender family’s small inn, about 20 miles from Independence, to chronicle the resulting manhunt and trials. The Benders murdered at least a dozen innocent travelers, burying their victims in an orchard.

Brooklyn-based playwright Anne Phelan is a two-time Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow and former member of The Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Workshop.  She has been a Guest Artist at The Juilliard School, in the Play Lab at the Last Frontier Theatre Conference, and Playwright-in-Residence at the William Inge Theatre Festival.

A Trinity Rep Conservatory graduate, her plays have been produced in New York City, and throughout the U.S. Three ten-minute plays of hers are published by Smith & Kraus. Phelan is a member of the Dramatists Guild, American PEN and the League of Professional Theatre Women.  www.annephelan.com

Admission is free to both readings, each of which is followed by a talkback with the playwright and creative team.

The goal of the Inge House Playwrights-in-Residence program is to advance the creation of new dramatic literature for the future of American theater, by supporting exceptional playwrights. The playwrights are able to tap ideas and expertise of the professional directors and actors, who offer insight as to shaping the scripts’ character.  It has already generated a treasure trove of engrossing contemporary plays.

The playwrights will be joined by a remarkable creative team of directors and actors, who will offer the playwrights their expertise throughout the development process and offer workshops to ICC and area high school theatre students.

The William Inge Center for the Arts is best known as sponsor of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, which is the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas.  The 32nd annual Inge Festival takes place May 1-4, 2013, and celebrates William Inge on the 100th anniversary of his birth. 

This program is presented in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art.

Further major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts include the William Inge Festival Foundation, the Independence Chamber of Commerce, and Independence Community College.

For further information on Inge Center activities, visit www.ingecenter.org.

Thursday
Sep062012

Inge Center Welcomes Adam Szymkowicz for Residency

Brooklyn-based playwright Adam Szymkowicz relocates for the second time to the Midwest prairie as a fall 2012 Inge House Playwright-in-Residence.  Szymkowicz first stayed at the historic William Inge Boyhood Home in Independence, KS in 2010 during his initial stay.  This is the 11th year for the William Inge Center for the Arts at Independence Community College to host these prestigious residencies.

In addition to penning new scripts, the resident playwrights also teach writing at an area high school, as part of the Inge Center’s “Playwright-in-the-Schools” program.  Szymkowicz will teach at Elk Valley High School in Longton, KS for a course that will conclude with the EVHS students presenting their self-written plays in November.  An “Artistic Access” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts allows the Inge Center to sponsor this and additional educational courses that are part of the residencies.

Adam Szymkowicz is a writer for stage and screen and was a staff writer on the television series, Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.”  His plays have been produced throughout the world, being presented or developed at such places as Manhattan Class Company Theater, South Coast Rep, Playwrights Horizons, LAByrinth Theater Company, Southern Rep, and The Lark, among many more.

He received a Playwright’s Diploma from The Juilliard School's Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Program and an MFA from Columbia University.. Szymkowicz is a two-time Lecomte du Nouy Prize winner, a member of the Dramatists Guild, Writer’s Guild of America, and the Primary Stages’ Dorothy Strelsin New American Writers Group, among many honors.   To learn more about Adam, go to www.adamszymkowicz.com.

He will have a public reading of one of his new scripts on Nov. 3, to be joined by Anne Phelan, who will start her Inge House residency in October. The William Inge Center for the Arts is best known as producer of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, which is the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas.  The 32nd annual Inge Festival takes place May 1-4, 2013, at Independence Community College, and honors William Inge on the commemoration of his 100th birthday May 3.  Tickets go on sale in the spring.

Major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts include the William Inge Festival Foundation, Independence Community College, and the Independence Chamber of Commerce.

This program is presented in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art.

Tuesday
Aug282012

Blue Star Theatres

The William Inge Center for the Arts has a longstanding commitment to the military personnel in our community and we welcome you to our theatre.

We offer discounted tickets to military families. To standard performance events, we offer 50% off, and will often be able to offer discounts on special events, when possible. Please check back regularly to our Events page to see what's playing and then contact our box office at 800-842-6063 x5491 and identify yourself as military personnel. Discounted tickets are based on availability for any given date.

    

Monday
Aug202012

Fall Youth Theatre Studio Starts September 1!

Imagination and creativity is the adage for fall Youth Theatre Studio acting classes at the William Inge Center of the Arts at Independence Community College, which begin September 1, under direction of Marisa Fritzemeier.

"Our classes focus on participation, and so we will focus on key elements of storytelling and how to apply that knowledge to the stage,” said Fritzemeier.  “We will work together as a class to create performance pieces that incorporate the five senses, musicality, body movement, text and team work."

The classes begin Saturday, September 1, and run seven consecutive Saturdays, concluding October 13.

The fee is $ 90 for the seven classes.  Enrollment can be made in person or by phone beginning August 6 by contacting Bruce Peterson at the Inge Center office at (620) 332-5492 or e-mail to info@ingecenter.org.

A $50 deposit is required to hold a spot in the class, which is limited to 15 students each.  The balance is due at the first class.

There are courses for two age levels: 3rd through 5th graders, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m., and then grades 6th through 8th from 10:45 a.m. to noon. 

Fritzemeier is a popular local drama teacher and the original instructor when the Youth Theatre Studio began in 2009.

Fritzemeier is an Independence native and professional theatre artist.   Marisa attended Independence Bible School, and studied theater at Independence Community College, where she was one of the first students in the Inge Center’s Professional Playwriting classes.

Marisa received her BFA in Theater from Emporia State University (ESU).  While at ESU, she won the William Inge Award for acting and was an Irene Ryan acting competition finalist.

Marisa’s professional experience also includes the Cornerstone Theater in Los Angeles.  Cornerstone is the leading community collaborative-based theater troupe in the nation, and also at Kentucky Repertory Theatre.

Gift certificates are available for members of an extended family to literally give the courses to loved ones.  The Inge Center also has a sponsorship program so that a donation of the class can be made to allow a needy scholarship student to attend the sessions.

Sunday
Jul292012

Inge Center receives $150,000 "Our Town Grant" from NEA

There will be no lazy days of summer in Independence, Kansas, as the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded the William Inge Center for the Arts at Independence Community College an “Our Town” grant of $150,000 to launch a summertime arts festival in 2014. 

The Inge Center and ICC will produce the Independence Summer Festival of Theatre and Arts, with the enthusiastic support of the community.  Local businesses, the school district, cultural groups, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations will all lend their aid.  The multidisciplinary festival will present performances, arts workshops, exhibitions, and concerts in both traditional and nontraditional places. The festival's centerpiece will be a rotating, four-show repertory of plays that are evocative of small-town America, both past and present. 

The National Endowment for the Arts granted 80 awards, totaling $4.995 million and reaching 44 states and the District of Columbia.  The Inge Center and ICC are one of only four awardees across the nation to receive the maximum grant of $150,000. 

Through the Our Town program, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively, beautiful, and sustainable places with the arts at their core.  The projects will improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies.  All Our Town grant awards were made to partnerships that consisted of a minimum of a not-for-profit organization and a local government entity. 

"Cities and towns are transformed when you bring the arts – both literally and figuratively – into the center of them,” said NEA Chairman Landesman. "From Teller, Alaska to Miami, Florida, communities are pursuing creative placemaking, making their neighborhoods more vibrant and robust by investing in the performing, visual, and literary arts. I am proud to be partnering with these 80 communities and their respective arts, civic, and elected leaders." 

“This is a dream come true,” says Inge Center Artistic Director Peter Ellenstein, “Independence will be awash in high caliber artists of all disciplines, great opportunities for the community to be involved, and should bring many cultural tourists to the town from all over the region.  We are absolutely thrilled that we already have so many partners on the project.” 

Along with the Inge Center, partners on this community project include: Independence Community College, City of Independence, Unified School District 446, Independence Chamber of Commerce, Independence Museum and Historical Society, Independence Public Library, Main Street Independence, Montgomery County Action Council, the Booth Theatre Foundation, and individual businesses. 

“I'm elated with the approval of such a large grant and am looking forward to providing our facilities and talents to make the Summer Festival of Theatre and Art a huge success for the Inge Center for the Arts, ICC, Independence and our surrounding communities,” said Dan Dollison, President Independence Historical Museum and Art Center. 

“We look forward to participating in this artistic program that will help our local economy, help encourage the arts, and help build community through collaboration,” said Julie Hildebrand, Director of the Independence Public Library.

“We are thrilled by the news of the Our Town grant.  Independence has a beautiful and historic downtown, and its streets and interiors provide a perfect setting for creative arts of all kinds,” said Liz Moore, executive director of Independence Main Street. “We definitely have an 'Our Town' feel, evocative of the great stories told through literature and theater of the past -- open to being a blank page, a palette, and a stage for the artistic minds and talents of this festival and beyond.”

“This grant is definitely a game changer,” said Brad Eilts, Montgomery County Action Council. “Now that we have this funding, great things can be expected following a lot of hard work.” 

The Inge Center and its partner organizations will be holding public meetings this fall to gather partners, volunteers and input in the creation of this inaugural Festival.  The hope is that the Festival’s success will lead to an annual summer festival to bring culture, tourism and economic development to the region.  “We cannot wait to share the magic and creativity of Independence, “Our Town”, with the more of the world at large,” said Ellenstein. 

The NEA received 317 applications for Our Town that were assigned to one of three application review panels based on their project type: arts engagement, cultural planning and design, or non-metro and tribal communities. The Independence Summer Festival of Theatre and Arts received a [project type] grant award. 

 For a complete listing of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. 

The William Inge Center for the Arts is best known as sponsor of the annual William Inge Theatre Festival, which is the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas.  The 32nd annual Inge Festival takes place May 1-4, celebrating the 100th birthday of its namesake William Inge. 

This program is presented in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, which believes a great nation deserves great art, and the Dramatists Guild Fund. 

Further major supporters of the William Inge Center for the Arts include the William Inge Festival Foundation, and Independence Community College.