2020 A.E. Hotchner Festival Playwrights

The A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival will be available for on-demand viewing until Saturday, October 31, 2020.

This year the Hotch Fest will be a live-streamed virtual event. The dates and times of the performances are listed below. In the past these performances have been free and open to the public. Patrons and WashU students may obtain links to the festival events by clicking on the links below.

This year because of increased production costs for video equipment and streaming, we are giving festival goers the opportunity to give a donation through our “pay what you can” ticket system. If you would like to make a contribution to help support this event, click the “Pay What You Can” Festival Package link below. You will receive links to register for all three events.

Cheryl Robs a Bank...
   Originally performed on Friday, October 16, 2020 
Women Eating Cake and The Five Year Reunion
   Originally performed on Saturday, October 17, 2020
   Originally performed on Saturday, October 17, 2020

The A.E. Hotchner Playwriting Festival was available for On-Demand Viewing through Saturday, October 31, 2020.

Produced by Carter W. Lewis 
Online Producer: Tom Shotkin
Festival Assistant, Abby Smyth


Cheryl Robs a Bank: An Evening of Dramatic Entertainment Presented
in Play Form by Cheryl Pryor

Written by Holly Gabelmann
Directed by William Whitaker
Dramaturg, Michele Volansky
Originally performed on Friday, October 16 at 7:00 p.m.

A bank-teller named Cheryl micromanages a situation between a thief, a killer-on-the-run and a sick pig named Olive. In this hilarious and dangerous telling, Cheryl finds herself trapped in the small slippery space between re-living and reimagining, as her story ricochets between what is happening now, what happened then, and what may never have happened at all. 

Women Eating Cake (a ten-minute play)

Written by Elizabeth Phelan
Directed by Andrea Urice
Originally performed on Saturday, October 17 at 2:00 p.m.

Three women eating cake discuss truth, friendship, and having a hook for a hand, as they pose the question: is it better to be yourself, or keep yourself away from yourself?



The Five-Year Reunion

Written by Ike Butler
Directed by Henry Schvey
Dramaturg, Michele Volansky
Originally performed on Saturday, October 17 at 2:00 p.m. (Immediately following ten-minute play)

Twenty-three year-old Dawn is ready to leave the past behind and finally do something with her life, but she's not sure how. She lives with her mom, just got fired, has no aspirations, is still hooking up with the same weirdo from high school, and she doesn't even know how to make tea. It's the absolute worst possible timing for her five-year high school reunion.


Written by Sophie Tegenu
Directed by Paige McGinley
Dramaturg, Quinn D. Eli
Originally performed on Saturday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m.

In a modern day re-contextualization of The Great Gatsby, Grand sharply unravels the American Dream through the journey of a young Black woman banker who dreams of being a painter, and an older iconic actress who hosts wild parties, does not attend them, and nostalgically dreams of a certain lily-white boy.

Guest Dramaturgs

Quinn D. Eli grew up in the Bronx, NY, and lives now in Philadelphia. As a playwright, essayist, and fiction writer, his work has appeared in Essence, Best American Ten-Minute Plays, and other publications. His plays have been produced nationwide, including HOT BLACK/ASIAN ACTION, a satire about sexual and racial stereotypes that premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival. Eli is the Resident Dramaturg for Philadelphia’s Irish Heritage Theater and served as a Playwright-in-Residence at the historic Plays & Players Theatre. The two-time recipient of Fellowships in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, he is a co-founder of Jouska PlayWorks, a Philadelphia-based initiative for playwrights of the African Diaspora.  




Michele Volansky is a freelance dramaturg based in Philadelphia.  She has worked on nearly two hundred new and established plays in her professional career and has served on the artistic staffs of PlayPenn, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Steppenwolf and Philadelphia Theatre Company and was past president of LMDA; Volansky holds a B.A. from Washington College, an M.A. from Villanova and a PhD from the University of Hull (England).





Endowed by alumnus, novelist, poet and playwright A.E. Hotchner, this annual playwriting competition is open to all undergraduate and graduate students at Washington University. Many past "Hotch" plays have gone on to full production in the PAD season and around the country. Two of our playwrights have won Kevin Kline Awards, and most recently Marisa Wegrzyn, a three-time Hotch participant, was awarded the prestigious national Wendy Wasserstein Award 2009 for her play Hickorydickory -- which had its world premiere in our studio theater in 2005.

This event is sponsored by the Newman’s Own Foundation.