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New Play Lab

Celebrating emerging playwrights in the hometown of William Inge

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

The selected New Play Lab playwrights receive:

  • A professional staged reading of their play with an audience
  • Feedback on their play facilitated by national theatre professionals.
  • Additional playwriting classes and seminars exclusive to New Play Lab participants, including a masterclass with William Inge Theatre Festival guest playwrights.
  • Opportunities to meet with theatre professionals from across the country.
  • VIP passes to all festival events.
  • Meal vouchers to enjoy local restaurants in William Inge’s Hometown of Independence.

Kansas proudly celebrates William Inge, the Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award winning playwright born and raised in Independence. The Festival was created to recognize William Inge and his accomplishments while also celebrating contemporary living playwrights. This year the festival is proud to continue our tradition of honoring playwrights in a playwright’s hometown. National playwrights and theatre professionals gather together for three days of play readings, workshops and panel discussions, celebrating the world of theatre.

Application Period

Applications for the 2024 season have reached their limit and are now closed. Applicants will be notified in January.

2023 Selected Playwrights

Andra Hunter

Dallas, TX

Andra Laine Hunter’s original plays have been performed at theaters in Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, California, New York, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and Tennessee.

Her work has been published in Flyway Journal of Writing and Environment, Apricity Magazine, and is forthcoming in Flowersong Press’s Drama in Plague Time anthology.

Her plays Nutcracker:Krakatuk and Frankenstein/Monster are published with Next Stage Press. Her play Star Bright was a finalist for City Theatre Miami’s National Short Playwriting Competition 2020.

She is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Linden Grove Theatre Company in Dallas and earned a MFA in Playwriting from Spalding University.

Debra Cole

Lawrence, KS

Debra A. Cole is an award-winning playwright, director, and theatre/writing/arts educator from Kansas.

Her one act play THE WRINKLE RANCH took AUDIENCE FAVORITE at Short + Sweet Perth, Australia. Her one act play Cold War can be found with Off The Walls Plays, and one act play SMALL TALK can be found at Heuer Publishing.

Debra is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America, a member of Honor Roll!, an advocacy group of women+ playwrights over 40, and an active member of a playwriting groups for Kansas City area playwrights and Literary Discourse Society out of Devon, England.

Elena Naskova

Seattle, WA

Elena Naskova was born and raised in Macedonia. She immigrated to USA when she was twenty-five. Her plays have been produced and read in Portland, San Luis Obispo, San Francisco, North Hollywood, Chicago, Nantucket, Mesa/Scottsdale and Sheffield – UK, New York, Toronto, Bloomington, Oakland, San Francisco, Spain, Dubai, Spokane and Seattle.

Her plays has been published in Smith and Kraus’ ‘Best Women’s Monologues of 2019, in the ‘Fleas on the Dog’ magazine, ‘The True Acting Institute’, Borderless Thalia: A Multilingual Comedic Collection and other publications.

Elena is a member of the Dramatist Guild and the Seattle Playwrights Circle.

Gay Glenn

Topeka, KS

Gay Glenn is a Kansas City based actor/writer. She holds an MFA in Theatre Performance through the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Theatre credits include Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (Penumbra Theatre), Moon Over Buffalo (MSU Tent Theatre), and The Emperor’s New Clothes (Imaginary Theatre Company, St. Louis).

Film credits include Saneliso (Independent), and she has a growing list of on-camera projects in the KC area. She nurtures her podcast: Crazy Insurance Lady (Breaks It All Down for You), available wherever you listen to podcasts.

She is currently helping her 95-year-old mother to make her final transition.

Ivan Faute

Portsmouth, VA

Ivan Faute’s credits include the OFFFest recommended show ON ARRIVING in London, the City Lit Art of Adaptation winner “Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher,” THE DARLING CHILDREN at New York International Fringe, and THE DOG SHOW at The Players Theatre. LOST SOCK LAUNDRY was awarded the OnStage Award in Italy and a TRU Voices New Play Reading 2022 selection.

In addition to productions in New York, London, Houston, and Chicago, his prose appears in dozens of journals and was named a finalist for the Calvino Prize.

Jessie Salsbury

Olathe, KS

Jessie Salsbury is a Kansas City Playwright and has participated in numerous local play readings and new work development. She is a resident playwright with the Midwest Dramatists Center.

Since 2014, she has been a playwright for 365 Women a Year: A Playwriting Project. She is a proud member of the Dramatists Guild and her work can be found on the New Play Exchange.

John Adams

Overland Park, KS

John Adams (he/him/his) writes about teenage detectives, robo-butlers, and cursed cowboys in a genre he’s coined “absurdist speculative melodrama”—meaning “monsters being monstrous, aliens being alien, and humans being all too painfully human.”

His plays have been selected for productions and readings by the William Inge Theater Festival, Whim Productions, the Barn Players, and the Midwest Dramatists Conference.

His short stories have been published by Australian Writers’ Centre, Dream of Shadows, Every Day Fiction, Flash Fiction Magazine, Intrinsick, Metaphorosis, Paper Butterfly, and Wyldblood.

He performs across the U.S. with That’s No Movie, a multi-genre improv team.

Web: Twitter: @JohnAmusesNoOne.

Maurielle Mcgarvey

Houston, TX

Maurielle Mcgarvey is a filmmaker and theater artist from Houston, Texas. Her past works include an adaptation of “Woyzeck” about youth gun violence (Rec Room Arts) and “Schrodinger’s Wife” (Eugene O’Neill Theater Center).

In the spring, she will be staging her new play, “Women Of” at Aeneid Theater Company. At this time, she is pursuing a BFA in screenwriting at the University of Southern California with a minor in performance art.

Tom Cavanaugh

Edison, NJ

Tom Cavanaugh has a MFA in playwriting from the Actors Studio Drama School in 2000.

ADAM & YOSHI was a finalist in McKinney Repertory Play Competition, TX, and a finalist in the 2013 New American Playwrights Program Utah Shakespeare Festival 2014.

INLAND EMPRESS, another full-length play, world premiered in Los Angeles. THE FIELD, a short play by Cavanaugh, premiered at The CTI Theatre Festival in Independence, MO.

In 2018, Theatre of Action in Los Angele’s Plays About Immigration listed Tom’s short play, COYOTE. Won the Artists & Playwright Festival at The KNOW Theatre in Binghamton, NY in 2018 short play, ROCKS ON THE PLAYA.

Tori Rice

Lakeside, CA

Tori Rice is an award-winning playwright, teaching artist, podcaster, and roller-skating enthusiast. She is a founding member of the San Francisco-based Club Solo, as well as a former ensemble member of the groups New American Theatre and Aurora Mime Theatre.

She has enjoyed collaborations with Fusion Theatre, The Magnetic Theatre, Scripps Ranch Theatre; SMoCA’s Lit Lounge; as well as site-specific and immersive theatre in cafes and courtrooms. She holds an MFA from ASU in Playwriting.

Zackary Peercy

Chicago, IL

Zack Peercy is a disabled playwright based in Chicago. In 2021, his play ESSENTIAL STARLITE was honored as an O’Neill Finalist, a Bay Area Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist, and a Blue ink Playwriting Award Semi-Finalist.

Other plays include THAT’S FUCKED UP (Three Brothers THeatre), IN AN INSTANT (Unheard Of Company), HARD-BOILED EGGNOG: A CHRISTMAS NOIR (Possibilities Theatre Company), MUTED. (Bottlecap Press), GREETINGS (Elgin Fringe Festival), EXHAUSTED BY YOU (American Blues Theatre), and others available on New Play Exchange.

Send him an email: [email protected].

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Kate Van Steenhuyse, KCAIC Assistant Director

(785) 379-1608

[email protected]