Clauder Competition

The Clauder Competition is a playwriting award hosted by PORTLAND STAGE and open to all New England playwrights.

The Center of Gravity
2009 Clauder Competition winner The Center of Gravity by Gregory Hischak. Actors shown: Matthew Harrington, Sophia Holman, and Christopher Kelly.

For over two decades, the Clauder Competition has been New England's most prestigious playwriting award. It was created in 1981 to celebrate the distinctive voices of our region's playwrights and to bring their work to the attention of the greater theatrical community. The Clauder Competition identifies exciting new works by New England playwrights and ensures their successful launch through readings and productions at Portland Stage, which adjudicates the competition and provides a creative home for the winning playwright.

The goal of the Clauder Competition for New England playwrights is to provide exposure, encouragement and critical feedback to promising playwrights who typically receive little more than a return postcard for material they send to theaters and producers. Past winners or finalists who have launched successful playwriting careers include Gregory Hischak, Quiara Alegria Hudes, Adam Bock, Laura Harrington, Elizabeth Egloff, Bridget Carpenter, Melinda Lopez, Liz Duffy Adams, William Donnelly, Kim Rosenstock, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Paula Vogel.

Clauder Prizes

Clauder Grand Prize: a $2,500 cash award, and a workshop production followed by a full production at Portland Stage during the 2013 season.

Gold Prizes: $600 cash awards each, plus a workshop production at Portland Stage.

Additional prizes will also be awarded to the best play from each of the six New England states.

Magnetic North
2006 Clauder Competition winner Magnetic North by William Donnelly. Actors shown:
Tom Butler and Jessica Dickey

Eligibility for the Clauder Competition:

  • Playwrights must currently live or attend school in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont. This residency requirement may be waived in cases where the material has significant relevance to New England AND where the playwright has previously lived in New England for a considerable period of time. For questions of eligibility, contact Literary Manager Daniel Burson at  
  • Plays must be full-length, with a running time between one and three hours.
  • Plays must require no more than 8 actors to perform. Playwrights must provide a precise casting plot for larger casts that require doubling.
  • Plays must be original works, not an adaptation or translation. 
  • Plays must not be primarily for younger audiences.
  • Plays must not have received a professional production, or publication, or a pledge/commitment for the same prior to the announcement of the Clauder Winner (December, 2012). This includes Actors Equity showcase and waiver productions. Plays that have had readings or non-AEA productions are still eligible.

The winning play must meet all eligibility requirements for a full production. In consideration of Portland Stage's mounting of the world premiere production, the grand prize winning playwright must provide  a small percentage of their royalties from the work for five years following the premiere production.

Clauder Competition Submissions: One script per playwright.

Yemaya's Belly
2003 Clauder Competition winner Yemaya's Belly by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Actors shown: Alexis Camins and Stephanie Biatriz.

Submissions must be sent by U.S. Mail only - no e-mails, faxes, etc.

Submissions must include the com-plete script with a cast breakdown and up-to-date playwright contact information to establish residency.

No scripts that are handwritten or scripts that are otherwise illegible will be considered. We also request that submissions not be bound in binding combs or other permanent bindings that will make them difficult to photocopy.

Submitted scripts will NOT be returned.

All submissions meeting the eligibility criteria will be reviewed by at least
2 readers, and will receive an individualized letter of response including readers' comments following the announcement of the winner.

DEADLINE: The next submission period for the Clauder Competition for New England Playwrights will open in summer 2014.
No submissions will be accepted prior to that time.

Notification of the opening of the Clauder Competition will go out to the media and to our list of interested playwrights in 2014. If you are an eligible playwright interested in joining the list for Clauder Competition notification, please send an e-mail with your name, state of residence, and home mailing address to

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