Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis (an Arts and Education Council grantee) begins its fourth season this week. Take a look at the video we produced when they were recognized as the Arts Startup of the Year at the 2019 St. Louis Arts Awards to see the exciting splash they've made in the community in just a few short years.

Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis was not intended to be a festival when it started. In fall 2014, Carrie Houk thought she would just do one production of “Stairs to the Roof”, which had recently been published, but never professionally performed.

Following that successful performance, though, it was clear St. Louis needed and wanted more of its most famous playwright who spent his formative years here.

“The community needed to be reminded how important he is to us,” Houk said.

Since that first production, the organization has attracted thousands of attendees to the readings, panel discussions, concerts, art exhibitions, productions and playwriting contests celebrating the art and influence of Tennessee Williams. The Festival has also offered educational outreach programs for underserved students to read and see plays and partnered with many St. Louis arts organizations to create lively, multi-faceted programming honoring the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright.

This year, “The Night of the Iguana” will run May 9-19 as the mainstage production and the Festival will also feature “A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur” and “Dear Mr. Williams”.

Actor Bryan Batt (“Mad Men”), will return to St. Louis to perform “Dear Mr. Williams” at the Curtain Call Lounge. Batt previewed an excerpt from the piece at the 2019 St. Louis Arts Awards. See his performance below.

The Festival will also feature panel discussions curated by renowned Williams expert Thomas Mitchell, a bus tour of important Williams sites around St. Louis, a Mother’s Day Sunday jazz brunch, and a tribute featuring curated readings by an array of local actors.

The 2019 Tennessee Williams Festival is May 9-19. Tickets are $25-50 (ARTS Card members can save $5). Learn more here. For more information visit twstl.org.