The 2018 William Inge Theater Festival Schedule of Events

A multi-media Tribute to Carlyle Brown highlights our roster of outstanding performances, readings, workshops, panels, and social events.

Description of Events

The William Inge Theater Festival celebrates playwriting the in the hometown of Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist William Inge. The festival runs May 9-12 and salutes Honoree Playwright Carlyle Brown.  It takes place at Independence Community College and additional venues in Independence, Kansas. In 2010, the State Legislature designated the Inge Festival as the Official Theater Festival of the State of Kansas.

Wednesday, May 9

The New Play Lab kicks off the festival, welcoming emerging playwrights nationwide who were selected to further develop their scripts. The New Play Lab is a partnership between Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and the Inge Festival. There are 20 outstanding writers attending. The Play Lab start at 1:30 p.m. and concludes the following day.

Each participant entered an unpublished script, which were chosen “blind” by a panel of theater artists. Producing partner Kokopelli Theater of Kansas City, MO, rehearses in advance of the Festival, and then travels to Independence for the readings. Enjoy the first-ever hearing of a new play, and view the expert critique from a select panel of respondents to each script.

New Play Lab: Readings of plays by 20 playwrights, from 1:30 p.m. through 5:30 p.m., Gault Hall and the Wesley Center, 200 South Penn Ave. Admission $5 or part of a Package.

The William Inge Collection is home of world’s largest depository of writings and personal effects of Pulitzer Prize and Oscar-winning writer William Inge. The Collection, located in the Independence Community College Library, is invaluable in interpreting Inge’s life and art, and houses hundreds of his manuscripts, both published and unpublished.  Ralph Voss, biographer of William Inge: Strains of Triumph, leads periodic lectures.

The William Inge Collection is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., free admission. Independence Community College Library, 1057 West College Ave..

Are you now or have you ever been…., As “A Playwright’s Festival in a Playwright’s Town,” the Inge Festival is proud to offer opportunities to know the work of its playwright Honorees. Opening night features a staged reading of Carlyle Brown’s Are you now or have you ever been…., at 7:30 p.m. at the William Inge Theater at Independence Community College.  A dramatic envisioning of the demons and dilemmas that poet Langston Hughes faced just before appearing at the McCarthy hearings.

Are you now or have you ever been…: Staged reading of play by Carlyle Brown.  Wed. May 9, at 7:30 p.m., William Inge Theater, Independence Community College. Tickets $10 or part of a Package.

Thursday, May 10

Public Workshops and Panels with Guest Artists. Brush up your performing skills with a critique from a professional Guest Artist. Explore topics such as improvisation, stage combat, acting, or voice. Or sit on a discussion about directing or the latest in the theater world.  Workshop details will be announced closer to Festival opening. Workshops are included in a Day Pass or Package. Sessions begin at 8 a.m.

Workshops and Panels with Guest Artists: Fine Arts Building at Independence Community College, 8 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., 1057 West College Ave. Admission by Day Pass or a Package.

William Inge Collection continues: open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., free admission. Periodic lectures by Ralph Voss, admission by Day Pass or a package. Independence Community College Library.

New Play Lab continues: Readings of plays by 20 playwrights, from 1:30 p.m. through 5:30 p.m., Gault Hall and Wesley Center, 200 South Penn Ave. Admission $5 or part of a Package.

An Evening with Mr. Inge.  Explore the journey of William Inge from small-town Kansas to Broadway literary stardom.  William Inge scholar Ralph Voss, author of the Inge biography “The Strains of Triumph,” provides context around live scenes from selected Inge plays. Curtain is 7:30 p.m. at the William Inge Theater at Independence Community College.

An Evening with Mr. Inge—scenes from selected plays by William Inge. At 7:30 p.m., William Inge Theater at Independence Community College, 1057 West College Ave. Tickets $10 or part of a Package.

The evening tops with “Fringe at the Inge,” where Festival patrons from near and far commune with guest artists at a local watering spot.

Fringe at the Inge: Gather at a local watering spot for late-night revelry. Brother’s Railroad Inn, 113 South Penn Ave, Independence. Free admission.

Friday, May 11

Workshops and Panels with Guest Artists continue: Fine Arts Building at Independence Community College, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 1057 West College Ave.  Admission by Day Pass or a Package.

William Inge Collection continues: open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., free admission. Periodic lectures by Ralph Voss, admission by Day Pass or a Package. Independence Community College Library.

Historic House and Buildings Tour of Inge’s Independence A guided bus tour of significant sites that give insight to young William Inge’s boyhood and his later plays. Sites include private businesses and homes, and includes a tour of the William Inge House, where he lived from age 3 to 18. Space limited. Tours start at 1:00 p.m.

Inge’s Independence tours, $10. Tickets sold singly due to limited space. Departures begin at 1:00 p.m.

Down in Mississippi   By Carlyle Brown. A full production of an inspirational work by our 2018 Honoree. Setting: The Freedom Summer 1964 campaign to register African-Americans to vote in the dangerous, segregated world of Mississippi. Three young civil rights activists discover that before they can change the world, they will have to change themselves. A celebration of a movement that gave birth to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voter’s Rights Act of 1965. Curtain 7:30 p.m., William Inge Theater.

Down in Mississippi Full production of a play by Carlyle Brown.  Fri. May 11, at 7:30 p.m., William Inge Theater, Independence Community College. $15 or part of a Package.

Fringe at the Inge: Gather at a local watering spot for late-night revelry. Uncle Jack’s Bar & Grill, 104 N. Penn Ave., Independence.  Free admission.

Saturday, May 12

Our region’s most-talented student writers have written original short plays, which are performed by their peers, at the High School 10 Minute Play Competition. These young artists compete for scholarships in playwriting and acting. Adjudicated by Festival guest artists. Open to the public. From 9 a.m. to noon, at Independence High School.

High School 10 Minute Play Competition. Independence High School, 1301 North 10th Street, Independence. Admission $5 or part of a Package.

Scholars’ Conference –Scholars of the theater present their papers on the works of Carlyle Brown and William Inge. At the Lecture Hall in the Academic Building, Independence Community College, and begins at 10:00 a.m.

Scholars Conference starts 10:00 a.m., Academic Building Room 200, Independence Community College. Admission $5 or part of a Package.

Picnic at Riverside Park – We can hardly celebrate the legacy of William Inge without an actual picnic lunch. Join Honoree Carlyle Brown and our Festival guest artists at the “Shelter House” picnic facility in Riverside Park. Then ride the carousel, the miniature train, view the William Inge Sculpture Garden, and there’s even a small zoo, all part of this glorious park. (Maybe you’ll spot Madge and Hal sneaking off!)

Inge’s Picnic, meal costs $12 or part of a Package. 12 noon, Riverside Park Shelter House. 1736 N. 5th St. (East Oak Street at North 4th Street, on hill in front of the fountain.)

Conversation with Carlyle Brown.  We are proud to host Carlyle Brown as our William Inge Theater Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater Award Honoree.  Mr. Brown will sit for a one-on-one interview to share about his art and career. Questions will be taken from the audience. At 2:30 p.m. at the Lecture Hall.

Conversation with Carlyle Brown. 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Lecture Hall, Academic Building Room 200, Independence Community College. Admission $5 or part of a Package.

37th Festival Tribute: Carlyle Brown – This multi-media presentation features video interviews with Mr. Brown and his artistic partners, and live scenes from his great works.  Concludes with the presentation to Mr. Brown of the William Inge Theater Festival Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater Award.

Tribute to Carlyle Brown. 7:30 p.m., William Inge Theatre, Independence Community College. Admission $20 or part of a Package.

Moonglow Celebration Moonglow is the theme song to the film version of "Picnic" and thus concludes the William Inge Theater Festival with a late-night celebration at the Independence Historical Museum and Art Center. Food and beverages available. Check out the exhibits on William Inge and additional local luminaries, such as Vivian Vance and Louise Brooks.

Moonglow Celebration, 9:30 p.m., Independence Historical Museum, 123 North 8th St. Admission $15 or part of a Package.

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