A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition & Festival


The A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Competition & Festival are endowed by alumnus, novelist, poet and playwright A.E. Hotchner. This annual playwriting competition & festival are open to all undergraduate and graduate students at Washington University. Many past "Hotch" plays have gone on to full production in the Performing Arts Department season and at various professional venues around the country. Our Hotchner playwrights have garnered many awards over the years, including The Kevin Kline Best New Play Award (St. Louis), The Liota Diesel Ashton Prize in Playwriting (Wash U.), The Jefferson New Play Award (Chicago), The Alfred P. Sloan Award, (NYC), The Wendy Wasserstein New Play Award (National), and many others. Hotchner Playwrights have been commissioned and developed at many of our country’s most prestigious theaters. 


The Competition

The Competition

Submissions for the competition are due in January. The names of the writers are removed from the scripts and a committee comprised of three Washington University faculty members, and one professional guest adjudicator review the plays. Winners are announced in April. In the spring, each selected playwright is provided an individual dramaturgical session with our Playwright-in-Residence so they may pursue rewrites over the summer. Selected plays are provided a small honorarium to offset costs of participating in the festival.

Learn More About How to Submit

The Festival

In September, playwrights, actors, faculty directors and a visiting professional guest dramaturg convene for two weeks to workshop the selected plays. The first week is “table work” on the script, allowing professional guidance for each writer to achieve rewrites. The second week moves to the theatre where the plays are rehearsed in preparation for a script-in-hand presentation on the festival weekend. Each performance is followed by a post show discussion with the audience, playwright and guest dramaturg. After the festival, each play is given a “post-mortem” so the author may continue with rewrites if she/he so desires. 

What's on for this year?

Washington University presents 4 World Premieres on the weekend of September 22 & 23, 2023. 

Learn More About This September's Festival
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World Premieres

In alternate years the Performing Arts Department produces a student written world premiere as part of the PAD season. The plays are selected from the past two Hotchner Festivals and are directed by a faculty director.

2021 You Don't Live Here Anymore by Elizabeth Brown

2019 Florida by Lucas Marschke

2017 Son of Soil by Andie Berry

2015  Telegraph by Will Jacobs

2013   If I Were You and Other Elvis Presley Songs by Leah Barsanti 

2011   The Stroke Scriptures by Christopher Kammerer 

2009   Candlestick Park by Elizabeth Birkenmeier 

2008   Intelligent Life by Lauren Dusek (Premiere, HotCity Theatre)

2007   Demons and Other Blunt Objects by Dan Rubin (Premiere, HotCity Theatre) 

2006   Steps by Maggie Stamell (Site Specific)

2005   Highness by Carolyn Kras

2004   Six Seconds in Charlack by Brian Golden

2003   Bootless West by Marisa Wegrzyn

2001   Killing Women by Marisa Wegrzyn

2000   Caught in Carnation by Peter Hanrahan

1999   Gitanjali by Sakena Abeden

1998   Untitled by Tina Kosa

1997   Nebraska by Alan Griswold

1996   Oldies on the Rocks by Dan Sullivan

1994   Ghostaway by Patrick Huber

1994   Funny by Michael Holmes

1991   Untangling Ava by Richard Byrne Jr.

1990   Had Momma Left a Lullaby… by Rick Watson