New Play Lab welcomes submissions from playwrights nationwide

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The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission partners with the William Inge Theater Festival New Play Lab in presenting the New Play Lab. The Commission is dedicated to measuring, promoting, supporting and expanding the creative industries to grow the state's economy and create creative industry-related jobs.

2018 Inge Festival New Play Lab

Twenty outstanding emerging playwrights will have a public rehearsed reading of one of their new scripts during the 2018 William Inge Theater Festival. The complete roster will be announced soon.

The New Play Lab is a partnership between the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and the William Inge Center at Independence Community College.

The New Play Lab invites 20-25 playwrights to have their plays included in the Play Lab during the 37th Annual William Inge Theater Festival, May 9-12, 2018, honoring playwright Carlyle Brown. The festival takes place in Independence, Kansas.

Inge Festival New Play Lab Submissions

Each year, the Inge New Play Lab seeks to connect emerging playwrights with the national theater community during the William Inge Theater Festival. The playwrights receive; feedback of their selected submitted play from a panel of theater experts, meet with fine arts professionals across the country, attend intensive playwriting seminars and a masterclass from the honoree to help them refine their craft, while enjoying the delightful enriching small-town hospitality of William Inge’s hometown of Independence Kansas.

We welcome applicants from all backgrounds and training. Applications are traditionally due in November of each year; dates for applying for the 2019 Inge Festival New Play Lab will be announced later in 2018. The submitted plays are blind reviewed (the playwright’s name will not be revealed) by a nationwide panel of theater professionals.



Submit a play. The play submitted must be your play. Plays having had an Equity production and musicals cannot be submitted.  Playwrights may only submit one play per festival. The submitted play (or segment of play) is limited to a 30 minutes. Submissions over the allotted minutes will be rejected. See Application Guidelines for further submission information and link to application.

Travel, transportation, and lodging. Each playwright is responsible for their own travel, transportation and lodging needs. We will provide information for assistance to those accepted, by January 8, 2018.

Conference Fees. Each playwright is responsible their conference fee of $250. The amount can be paid in two installments.  Additional payment information will be sent out to those accepted, by January 8, 2018.

Attend Exclusive Seminars, Masterclass & reading of your submitted play. Each playwright is required to attend the two Play Lab Playwright seminars, Playwright Masterclass with the Honoree playwright, and the reading of their play. The exclusive package activity begins Wednesday morning May 9, 2018.


Professional Public Reading. Playwrights will receive a public play reading of up to 30 minutes of their play, as well as feedback from professional panelists.

Exclusive Seminars and Masterclass. The Play Lab Playwrights receive two exclusive seminars with professional playwrights and a Masterclass with the William Inge Festival Honoree.

Festival Celebration. Play Lab Playwrights have full access to four days to all public festival events, including all other play readings, full production of Honorees play, social events, workshops, Inge scenes, and much more.

Application Guidelines

All applications must be submitted via an online form with our partner, the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. Applications for the 2018 New Play Lab are now closed; the online form will on this website later in the year, once deadlines are announced for the 2019 New Play Lab

All scripts must be submitted in PDF format.

Your title page may not have any identifying information -- no author name or address -- or it will be disqualified.

name your script file in this format: 2018 + TITLE (for instance, 2018 Bus Stop.pdf).

The script length should be no longer than 30 minutes of stage time and include a maximum of 6 characters.

Applicants must enter a short synopsis of your play as it might appear in the Play Lab program. (Maximum 100 words.)

Applicants must also enter a summary of how you think your play would benefit from a Play Lab reading and panel response. (Maximum 200 words).


If you have any questions about the residency, feel free to email the program directly:



Archives: 2017 New Play Lab at the Inge Festival


Nobody is bored when he is trying to make something that is beautiful, or to discover something that is true. ~William Inge

Emerging playwrights from across the nation have been selected to further develop their stories at the Midwest’s distinctive theater festival in a small Kansas town, where story-telling still lives on front porches of gentle evenings.

The New Play Lab of the 36th Annual William Inge Theater Festival and Conference, a partnership between Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and Independence Community College, will host 36 outstanding writers from 15 states for the second annual New Play Lab. The Lab takes place April 19-22, during the Inge Festival, the Official Theatre Festival of the State of Kansas.

The scripts, chosen “blind” by a panel of theater artists from across the nation, are rehearsed by top regional directors and actors, in preparation for a public reading for conference and Festival attendees.  Producing partner Kokopelli Theater of Kansas City, MO, casts and rehearses in advance of the Festival, enabling the writers chosen to do a final edit before presentation. A panel of Master Writers and select theater professionals serves as respondents to each work, following the reading.

Play Lab writers join Festival patrons nationwide for panel discussions, lectures, workshops with master playwrights and theater practitioners, evening performances, and the many social events the Festival offers.


The New Play Schedule
and the Full 2017 Inge Festival Schedule, Click Below

The 2017 Inge Festival New Play Lab (in alpha order by title):

2045, by Scott Lummer
A Moment of Clarity, by Philip Middleton Williams
A Punchline, by Michael Schwartz
A String Between Man and the World, by Paige Zubel
An Accident in the Park, by William Ivor Fowkes
Actias Luna – On the Origin of Madness, by Susan Kathryn Hefti
Angels We Have Heard, by Gordon LePage
An Accident in the Park, by William Ivor Fowkes
Break Room, by Rachel Bublitz
The Briefing, by Simon Bowler
Coming up for Air, by Marie Amthor Schuett
Curse of the Wagging Tongue, by Eoin Carney
Duct Tape, by Michael Goldstein
Ebony People, by Steve Gold
Every Concentrated Fragment, by Susan Hansell
Facility, by Phil Darg
Five Days in Calcutta, by Fred Perry
FONDUES and FOND DON'T, by Big Daddy Don Parker
High Grass, by Irene Ziegler
How to be Lazy and Not Feel Guilty, by Drew Petriello
I, Phone, by J. Gulotta
Inherent, by K.J. Dwyer
Johnny Shoemaker, by Rand Higbee
Just Add Water, by John Remington
Legitimate Threat, by Bridget Carson
Like a Billion Likes, by Erik Forrest Jackson
Little Red, by Fengar Gael
Love and Country, by Alex Rubin
Loverboy, by Staci Swedeen
Lured, by Frank J. Avella
Men and Women, by Abbey Khan
O-Town: Voices from Orlando, by David Lee
Ocotillo, by Anna Nicholas
Pillow of Tears, by Lynda Crawford
POSTERS, by Olivia Reevell
Registered, by Daniel Hurewitz
Rouge + Noir, by Connie J. Bennett
Sanctuary, by Val Valdez
She Keeps This Family Together, by Kay Phillips
This Isn’t a Horror Story, by Matthew A Everett
To Grandmother’s House, by Monica McCarthy
Transgress, by Alan Olejniczak

High School Scholarship Winner:
Occupancy of a Disrupted Mind, by Luke Wallace



Archives: 2016 New Play Lab at the Inge Festival 


The New Play Lab during the William Inge Theatre Festival aids the development of new scripts by emerging playwrights.
Scripts selected for the Play Lab have a rehearsed reading by professional actors and directors, and are presented in front of a panel of outstanding respondents.  The
schedule below shows the participating playwrights of the  2016 Play Lab at the Inge Festival.  

Also, enjoy this article about the 2016 William Inge Theatre Festival, published in American Theatre magazine





In honor of our 35thAnniversary, the William Inge Theater Festival and Conference featured its first ever New Play Lab.  Thirty plays were presented for the first time, Wednesday through Friday, April 20-22, of 2016.   Panelists of nationally-renowned theater professionals, including Master Teachers David Henry Hwangn (2012 Inge Honoree), Lee Blessing, and Mac Wellman, and Inge New Voices HonoreesCatherine Trieschmann (2012), Catherine Butterfield (1999), and former Inge Playwright in Residence, Obie for Lifetime Achievement Awardee, Caridad Svich, responded to the new works, immediately following each reading.

The Second Annual Play Lab will be held as part of the 2017 William Inge Theatre Festival, April 19-22, 2017. Prospective playwrights are encouraged to watch the Inge Center website for news on how to submit.  

The New Play Lab offered playwrights attending the Festival the opportunity to interact with and have their work seen by professional theater artists from around the country, Festival attendees and the public. In addition, all play lab writers worked directly with professionals in hands-on writing workshops.   

Karen Carpenter, Artistic Director, says, “We are thrilled to realize our mission of helping playwrights further their new work at the Inge Festival.  As hosts of playwrights in residence and their resulting developmental workshops at the Inge Center for the past 15 years, and the crossroads for major theater artists during the Festival, we are uniquely positioned to give a forum to new works that serves to further the playwrights’ process, on the road to production.”

The Living Room Theatreof Kansas City partnered with the Inge Festival to produce the Play Lab readings; casting professional actors and directors to rehearse the plays prior to their presentation here.

Plays were chosen for the Play Lab by a panel of “blind” readers. This Play Lab explored variety in the one act play format: from structure, style, and storytelling, to the very stories we tell and those who tell them, in honor of William Inge and his exploration of the one act in both style and form in the latter years of his life. Submissions from traditionally underrepresented voices were strongly recommended.

The following plays were presented: 

A Life Enriching Community by Philip Middleton Williams

 A Paper Forest by Claudia I. Haas

Amanda Transcending by Connie Bennett

Another Part Of The Field by Francis RTM Boyle

Bang by Daniel Born

Dear Independence, Love Saigon by Deb Sandoval

Delusions Of Grammar by Craig Coyne

Drinks With Mother Teresaby James Trivers

En Plaine Air by Kenneth N. Kurtz

Exit Interview by Eoin Carney

Gentlemen’s Pactby Karen JP Howes

Heathen by Susan Jackson

Judges Decision by Michael Goldstein

Kain’s Curse by Jonathon Ward

Monkey Play by Rand Higbee

Picture Me Rollin’ by Diana Burbano

Platter Tudes by Vicki Vodrey

Soldier Of Fortune by Paul Bowman

Someone To Lean On by Elizabeth Keyser

Style by L.C. Bernadine

Tea & Misery by Terence Patrick Hughes

Terminal by Anne Welsbacher

That Kissb y DC Cathro

The Circus Still Comes To Town by Tom Cavanaugh

The Rescue by Susan Dunlap

The Tale Of The Yooper by Adrienne Thompson

Three Months To The Day by Kathryn Ryan

Trapped Like A You Know What by Jared Strange

True Believers by Joshua Kaplan

Whence You Cameby D.S. Magid.

Responding panelists included:

David Henry Hwang

Throughout his career, playwright David Henry Hwang has explored the complexities of forging Eastern and Western cultures in contemporary America.  His extraordinary body of work, over the past 30 years, has been marked by a deep desire to reaffirm the common humanity in all of us.  He is best known as the author of M. BUTTERFLY, which won the 1988 Tony, Drama Desk, John Gassner, and Outer Critics Circle Awards, and was also a finalist for the 1989 Pulitzer Prize. The play enjoyed a one-year run on London’s West End and has been produce in over four dozen countries to date.  His play GOLDEN CHILD premiered off-Broadway at the Joseph Papp Public Theater, received a 1997 Obie Award for playwriting and subsequently moved to Broadway where it received three 1998 Tony Nominations, including Best New Play.  His play YELLOW FACE, which premiered at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum and New York’s Public Theater, won a 2008 Obie Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  Mr. Hwang’s Broadway musicals include writing the book for Rodgers & Hammerstein’s FLOWER DRUM SONG, which earned him his third Tony nomination in 2003 for Best Book of a Musical.  He co-wrote the book for Disney’s international hit AIDA, with music and lyrics by Elton John and Tim Rice, which won four 2000 Tony Awards and ran over four years on Broadway, and he was the bookwriter of Disney’s TARZAN, with songs by Phil Collins.


Lee Blessing

Lee Blessing has written over thirty plays, including A WALK IN THE WOODS (nominated for Tony and Olivier Awards and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), GOING TO ST. IVES, A BODY OF WATER, THIEF RIVER, Two Rooms, ELEEMOSYNARY AND COBB. Two of his plays have opened recently – the world premiere of COURTING HARRYat History Theatre in St. Paul, MN and Great Falls – which had its south-of-the Equator debut at the Ensemble Theatre in Sydney, Australia. Blessing’s plays have earned two Steinberg American Theater Critics Association awards, as well as Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, and L.A. Critics Association awards, among others. Three of his plays have also been cited in Time magazine’s list of the year’s ten best.  His TNT movie “Cooperstown” won the Humanitas Award.  For more than a decade he headed the Graduate Playwriting Program at Rutgers University.


Mac Wellman

Mac Wellman is the I. Fine Professor of Play Writing at Brooklyn College, and in 2010 he became a CUNY Distinguished Professor.  Wellman is author to more than forty plays.  His recent work includes

3 2’S ; or AFAR AT DIXON PLACE in October 2011, THE DIFFICULTY OF CROSSING A FIELD (with composer David Lang) at Montclair in the fall of 2006 (and elsewhere more recently), and 1965 UUfor performer Paul Lazar, and directed by Stephen Mellor at the Chocolate Factory in the fall of 2008. He has received numerous honors, including NEA, McKnight, and Rockefeller grants and Guggenheim and Foundation of Contemporary Arts fellowship.  In 2003 he received his third Obie, for Lifetime Achievement.  In 2006 his third novel, Q’s Q was published by Green Integer, and in 2008 a volume of stories, A Chronical of the Madness of Small Worlds, was published by Trip Street Press as well as a new collection of plays The Difficulty of Crossing a Field from Minnesota Press. His novel Linda Perididowon the 2011 FC2 Catherine Doctorow Prize for Innovative Fiction. He is a co-founder of the Flea Theater in New York City.