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A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival 2023

We invite you to become a part of the playwriting process at the script-in-hand staged reading of each play.

For nearly 30 years, the Performing Arts Department has produced the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival as a vehicle to support and develop new plays written by WashU students. The annual Festival begins with a university-wide solicitation of new, unproduced plays. Several plays are selected, through an anonymized screening process, to be developed in a two-week event in September.  During those two weeks, each play will be workshopped with a professional dramaturg, a faculty director and student cast.  The Festival culminates in a public staged reading of each play.  

Guest dramaturg, Mead Hunter, will mentor the writers during the Hotchner Festival workshop in September 2023.

This year’s 2023 Festival is supported by the Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences as well as a grant from Tim Hotchner.

All Readings will take place in-person in the A.E. Hotchner Studio Theatre.  Admission is free and open to the public.

Friday, September 22 at 7 p.m.

The Smoke Watcher
by Bela Marcus
Directed by Sarah Whitney

Lost Cat (a 10-minute Play)
by Bela Marcus
Directed by Sarah Whitney

Saturday, September 23 at 7 p.m.


Minds at Work
by Maddy Klass
Directed by William Whitaker




Now Boarding (a 10-minute Play)
by Charlie Meyers
Directed by William Whitaker



Click here for more information on the A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival

Meet our Dramaturg

Mead Hunter began his theater career as playwright-in-residence for The Storefront Actors’ Theatre of Portland, Oregon. He went on to earn an MFA in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale University and a PhD in Critical Studies from UCLA. He has taught performance history and text analysis at institutions including University of Portland and the California Institute of the Arts, and most recently Wash U. Past consulting projects include South Coast Rep’s Pacific Playwrights Festival, the Kennedy Center, University of Iowa’s Festival of New Plays, the Mark Taper Forum’s New Work Festival, and Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

As a journalist he has contributed to many publications, including Performing Arts Journal and American Theatre. His worked has been anthologized in The Playwright’s Muse (Heinemann Press) and Interculturalism (PAJ Publications). For six years he served as Editor-in-Chief of Parabasis, the celebrated triannual journal for playwrights.

For 10 years he served as Director of Literary Programs for A.S.K. Theater Projects in Los Angeles where he commissioned many original scripts, including Naomi Iizuka’s 36 Views. He also curated a festival of ensemble-generated theater that introduced scores of groundbreaking troupes to Los Angeles, including Diavolo Dance Company, Redmoon Theater, Fabulous Monsters and Mabou Mines, in addition to curating the popular Hot Properties production series at the John Anson Ford Theater. 

From 2002-2009, Mead was Portland Center Stage’s Director Literary & Education Programs. While at PCS, he was the production dramaturg on many world premieres, in addition to curating the company’s annual festival of new work, Just Add Water. He also taught frequently in PCS’s GreenHouse School of Theater, an educational institution that he founded. Also during this time he served as artistic director for The New Harmony Project in Indiana, in addition to serving as a series editor for NoPassport press and serving on the Artistic Council for CoHo Productions. He’s been very busy. He’s proud to be working on the HotchFest now, which he’s been wanting to do for a long, long time.