May 18-22, 2023
Charlotte Street Foundation

All events FREE to attend a participate!

Join Kansas City Public Theatre for the 2nd Annual THEATRE LAB FEST, a celebration of our city’s playwriting talent! Over the course of the festival weekend, audiences can attend nightly performances of the world-premiere production of TIPTON, new play-in-development readings, AND participate in several interactive events such as a PLAYWRITING JAM and 5-PAGE FRINGE! ALL are welcome to attend and participate!


TIPTON is an experimental exploration of jazz musician Billy Tipton’s life through his own writing, written accounts from his friends and family, and through the music he made. This musical revue interweaves Tipton’s vaudevillian performance style with a nuanced story of transgender identity in the world of music. This production will both celebrate one of the unsung heroes of Kansas City jazz, and provide a thoughtful perspective on transgender identity in navigating a life the arts.

Shows times at 7:30pm May 18-22, 2023

A Limited Number of Reservations May Be Purchased In Advance


Thursday, May 18
7:30pm –TIPTON Preview
Friday, May 19    
7:30pm –TIPTON OPENING NIGHT (Opening Festival Reception to Follow)
Saturday, May 20
1:00pm – “Under the Table” by Ruthie Wu (Reading and Talkback)
7:00pm –Community Discussion: “Action for Allies: steps toward inclusive healthcare in Missouri”
7:30pm –TIPTON
9:30pm –Playwriting Jam
Sunday, May 21 
12pm –5-Page Fringe
3pm –”Smile, You’re On Camera” by Ash Bowen (Reading and Talkback)
7:30pm –TIPTON
Monday, May 22
7:30pm – TIPTON, Industry Night



Untitled design(20)Under the Table
by Ruthie Wu

Under the Table is a two-person play that explores relational connection and disconnection through a series of misunderstandings. Mimi and Theo run into each other under a table, both seeking belonging. However, the desires that bring them together also threaten to drive them apart.


Untitled design(18)Smile, You’re On Camera
by Ash Bowen

Smile, You’re on Camera explores what happiness is and what happiness is supposed to look like. It asks the big questions related to friendships, romantic partners, and career path. This play shows the journey of motivational speaker, Lily, from when she was at her “happiest” to when she was speechless.


Playwriting Jam

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: One play, A LOT of playwrights! Get ready for a good time! We are asking any and all would-be playwrights to sign up for a spot and contribute their unique mark to a single script! The writing will take place over the weekend of May 12-14. Each writer gets ONE HOUR to make their contributions to the play! The script will be read aloud by actors on Saturday, May 20 at 9:30pm.


5-Page Fringe

Any playwright can bring up to 5 pages of a script to hand out and have read aloud in front of an audience!



Thank you to our festival sponsors!