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Inge Festival names Corthron "New Voices" award winner

Inge Festival names Corthron "New Voices" award winner

Playwright Kara Lee Corthron has been selected as the recipient of the 2019 William Inge Theatre Festival’s “Otis L. Guernsey New Voices in the American Theatre Award,” which recognizes substantial early contributions to the contemporary American stage.

The award is named for the late Otis L. Guernsey, respected theater critic and scholar. As editor of the annual “Best Plays” anthology, he was a champion of new plays and a longtime attendee and advocate of the Inge festival.

Corthron will be presented with the award at the 38th annual Inge festival, May 22-25, at Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. Corthron’s new play What Are You Worth? will be presented as a reading during the festival, directed by Kansas City Repertory Theatre Artistic Associate and Resident Director Chip Miller.

“We’re thrilled to recognize Kara’s astute, nuanced and unflinching voice, which is critical for our time,” said William Inge Center for the Arts Producing Director Hannah Joyce-Hoven. “It is fitting that we recognize this significant voice through the New Voices Award.”

Corthron is a New York City-based playwright, author of young adult novels and writer for television. Audiences in the Kansas City area most recently saw her Welcome to Fear City at KC Rep earlier this year. Additional theatrical productions include Listen for the Light at Know Theatre of Cincinnati, and AliceGraceAnon at New Georges in New York. She is also an active writer in other mediums, including the young adult novel The Truth of Right Now from Simon & Schuster/Simon Puls, and Daughters of Jubilation, coming this summer.

For television, she currently writes for the Netflix drama You.

The New Voices recognition at the Inge Festival adds to her many prestigious awards, including: Parents’ Choice Gold Award for The Truth of Right Now; the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Vogel Playwriting Award; Princess Grace Award; Lincoln Center’s Lecomte du Nouy Prize (three-time recipient); and numerous other honors and fellowships. She is an alumna of Julliard and more information can be found on her website,

Previous winners of the New Voices award include Katori Hall, Lauren Gunderson, Samuel D. Hunter, David Ives, Theresa Rebeck, J.T. Rogers and Jen Silverman, among many other theater luminaries of our time.

The Inge festival’s namesake is William Inge, an Independence native who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama (Picnic) and Oscar for Best Screenplay (Splendor in the Grass). The festival is designated by the Kansas State Legislature as the “Official Theater Festival of Kansas.

This year’s festival honoree is Octavio Solis, who will receive the William Inge Festival’s “Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater Award.” A tribute ceremony for Mr. Solis will be created and directed by Chuma Gault.

The 2019 event will feature numerous performances and workshops, including the New Play Lab, in partnership with the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, in which emerging playwrights from across the nation will have a professional public reading of a script.

Additional major supporters of the festival include Independence Community College, the William Inge Festival Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

For more information and festival tickets, visit