KAREN CARPENTER - ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
WILLIAM INGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS and
THE WILLIAM INGE THEATER FESTIVAL
Karen Carpenter, a producer, director and teacher, a theater-maker for more than 30 years, lead the William Inge Center for the Arts and the annual William Inge Theater Festival, which celebrates significant playwrights for distinguished achievement in the American Theater, as Producing Artistic Director from 2014-2016. The Inge Festival, the Official Theater Festival of the State of Kansas, houses William Inge's personal archives, the Inge Collection.
Karen took on this post after serving previous Inge Festivals as the director of lifetime achievement tributes to Arthur Kopit, David Henry Hwang, Donald Margulies, and the 100th birthday tribute to William Inge. For the 28th Festival, she curated and directed six “lost” one-acts by William Inge, which she entitled Inge: Complex, in conjunction with their first publication. She also directed the initial development readings of new works for nine Inge Center playwrights-in-residence. From 2012-2013, she served on the William Inge Festival Foundation Board of Trustees.
Among her initiatives there: a 50th anniversary production of Inge's Where's Daddy?; the addition of the Festival New PlayLab, which gave hundreds of artists and new works their first exposure to Festival audiences; partnerships with the Living Room and Kokopelli Theatres of Kansas City, partnerships with KCAIC, Kansas Health, and the Kennedy Center, to benefit growth of the Playwright Discovery Program for severely emotionally disturbed children, and a new, intensive two-year Theater program curriculum for the college.
The roster of renowned playwrights who have traveled to the Inge Festival to receive the William Inge Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre Award includes Arthur Miller, August Wilson, Stephen Sondheim, Edward Albee, Wendy Wasserstein, David Henry Hwang, Tina Howe and Neil Simon, to name only a few.