Announcing the 40th William Inge Theatre Festival

40th Inge Festival

The William Inge Theater Festival will celebrate its 40th anniversary on April 20-22, 2023, by honoring its namesake playwright William Motter Inge.   

The three-day festival brings to Independence, Kansas, playwrights from across the nation to its New Play Lab, guest artists, a production of Inge’s The Dark at the Top of the Stairs with guest professional artists, and theatre workshops and panel discussions.

Inge is the acclaimed writer who was born and raised in Independence and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (for Picnic) and the Oscar for Best Screenplay (for Splendor in the Grass.) His work is notable for its authentic and compassionate representation of the lives of everyday Midwestern life. 

On the occasion of the Festival’s 40th anniversary, the Inge Festival has chosen to honor its namesake to highlight his legacy that includes an unprecedented four consecutive Broadway hits (Come Back, Little Sheba; Picnic; Bus Stop; The Dark at the top of the Stairs.0 

The Dark at the Top of the Stairs is his most biographical play. It will be performed three times during the Festival. The New Play Lab is in its sixth year. There are public readings on April 20 and 21 of scripts by 11 playwrights from across the nation. These will be read and responded to by noted playwrights and artistic directors. As always, the Festival holds scores of workshops and panels conducted by professional artists for students and the public. 

For more information on the William Inge Center for the Arts’ programming, history, and upcoming events email