Little Festival of the Unexpected is an annual event dedicated to public readings of new works. Three to five playwrights are in residence each year at the festival as they continue to develop their scripts with input from actors, directors, dramaturgs and audience members.
The 2013 Little Festival of the Unexpected was held May 14-18, 2013, at Portland Stge. Click here for more information on that festival.
New Play Development at the Little Festival
Since its debut in 1989, the Little Festival of the Unexpected has established a tradition of nurturing artists, invigorating audiences, and exploring new voices, new visions and new forms of theatre. The festival furnishes a supportive environment for playwrights to develop their work, as well as a unique opportunity for audiences to catch a firsthand look at the creative process that brings scripts to the stage. Little Festival readings are performed by a company of professional actors, and are followed by an open discussion between the audience, director and playwright.
Each playwright in residence receives a stipend as well as housing during the festival. Limited support for travel is also available.
Past Little Festival of the Unexpected scripts have a successful track record of full productions both here at Portland Stage and at other professional theaters around the country. Almost, Maine, which was developed at the 2003 Little Festival, went on to become the most commercially successful mainstage production in Portland Stage history at that time. Many other Little Festival works have gone on to productions elsewhere, including successful Off-Broadway runs and television filming.
For a listing of past Little Festival of the Unexpected plays and playwrights, see the Other Performances page of Portland Stage's Production History.
Little Festival of the Unexpected Submissions
Submissions for the upcoming Little Festival of the Unexpected are accepted year-round on a rolling basis (we are currently reading for the 2014 festival). All submissions received after January 1 will be considered for the following year's Festival. Only scripts and samples of full-length plays are considered for the Festival.
- Literary agents may submit complete scripts on behalf of their clients at any time.
- Playwrights who do not have agents may submit 10-page dialogue samples for consideration. Dialogue samples must be accompanied by a synopsis, production history and character breakdown.
- Plays are eligible for development at the Little Festival of the Unexpected only if they have not previously been professionally produced or workshopped with Equity actors. This restriction includes Actors Equity showcase and waiver productions. Plays that have had readings or non-AEA productions are still eligible.
Only one submission is accepted per playwright in a given year.
Submissions of 10-page samples (from playwrights) must be sent by U.S. Mail only - no e-mails, faxes, etc.
Submit by mail to:
Portland Stage Company
Attn: Literary Manager
P.O. Box 1458
Portland, ME 04104