Little Festival of the Unexpected 2021

Since its debut in 1990, the Little Festival of the Unexpected (LFU) has established a tradition of nurturing artists, invigorating audiences, and exploring new voices, visions, and forms of theater. The festival furnishes a supportive environment for playwrights to develop their work and offers audiences a unique opportunity to witness the creative process that usher scripts to the stage. LFU readings are performed by a company of professional actors and are followed by an open discussion with the audience, director, and playwright.

Read the 2020 Clauder Competition Media Release HERE.

The 2021 Little Festival of the Unexpected will be live-streamed on Zoom.

Following each digital workshop performance, there will be a talkback with the writer, director, and cast of the show.

Each presentation will be free and open to the public. Registration is required.

During the weekend following each performance a recording of that week’s reading will be hosted on Portland Stage’s website.

Sponsored by

2021 Little Festival of the Unexpected Plays

by Caity-Shea Violette
Friday, March 12th at 7pm EST
Clauder Competition Gold Prize Winner. Rx Machina unpacks big pharma’s impact on everyday American culture through the eyes of five women on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic. An ambitious pharmaceutical sales representative’s relentless pursuit of a rigidly principled pain management doctor leads to an intoxicating, forbidden connection that comes with a cost. Searching for humanity in a healthcare system where patients are consumers and pain is profitable, Rx Machina asks who gets to get better and who gets left behind.


by Greg Lam
Friday, March 26th at 7pm EST
Clauder Competition Grand Prize Winner. Massachusetts State Winner. The Earth has become uninhabitable. The last escape ship from Earth (Seattle, to be exact) arrives at its new home centuries after all the others. The pilots are not prepared for what they find there: A planet full of unimpressed people of color who are not happy to see them. The Last Ship to Proxima Centauri asks us to examine 21st Century America through the lens of futurist neo-colonialism, 2000 years after the end of Must See TV. The Last Ship to Proxima Centauri will be mounted as Mainstage Season Production in 2022.


by Benjamin Benne
Friday, April 9th at 7pm EST
Clauder Competition Gold Prize Winner. Clauder Competition Connecticut State Winner. This is a list of things Christian believes in: logic, banana Laffy Taffy, video games, and Daniel. This is a list of things Christian doesn’t believe in: caffeine, alcohol, monogamy, and God. Daniel, a Mario Kart wizard and aspiring Lutheran pastor, is falling for Christian. But as these men explore the potential of their new relationship, voices from Christian’s past threaten to overpower the connection they share—with one another, and something bigger than themselves.


Little Festival of the Unexpected 2021 post-reading discusions