Playwright's Theatre

The 26th annual Playwright’s Theatre will be held on Friday, September 8, 2023, at 7:00 p.m. in Cabe Theatre at Hendrix College. This year’s play, Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, was written by Dawn Branch ’05. Laura Grimes ’04 will direct the staged reading, and Elizabeth Small ’81 and Rhea Thurman ’84 will co-star. The staged reading will be followed by a discussion, which will be followed by a reception in Mills Lobby. This event is free and open to the public. No tickets or reservations are required. 

Branch’s play, centers on two women navigating one’s anxiety. Nora's attempt to cut Elle's hair quickly devolves into a farcical scene of catastrophizing, and Nora’s failure to calm Elle’s implausible fears comes to a head. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is an often silly, sometimes serious play about friendship, trust, and growth. 

Originally from Tulsa, Oklahoma, Branch studied at Hendrix College and Boston University before moving to Los Angeles. She has worked in the film industry for over a decade. To read her other work visit 


In 1999, theatre faculty Danny Grace and Rosemary Henenberg extended the efforts of the annual Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Student and Alumni Playwriting Contests by enabling one first-place winner to see their play as a staged reading in the first Playwright’s Theatre. The Student and Alumni Playwriting Contests have been supported by the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation since 1986. The contests are judged by a professional playwright, and first and second place winners in both contests are awarded cash prizes. The program brings faculty, alumni, and students together to renew past relationships and build new ones while collaborating on creative projects.  

This event is co-sponsored by the Hendrix College Theatre Arts & Dance department and the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation.