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. Please visit our Playwriting Alumni section for a listing of individually accomplished awards, developmental festivals, commissions and productions.
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 Playright-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.
Click here for submission instructions for the 2017 Competition.
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.
Click here for information about the 2016 Playwriting Festival.
Click here for a list of past & present professional guest dramaturgs.
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.
Click here for a list of past & present A.E. Hotchner world premieres.