New England’s most prestigious playwriting award, the Clauder Competition was created in 1981 by Jeb Brooks, who continues to underwrite the program. The Clauder Competition celebrates the distinctive voices of our region’s playwrights and brings their work to the attention of the greater theatrical community. Portland Stage started hosting readings and productions of the winning plays in 1998, and has been administering the Clauder Competition since 2001, where it has remained for over two decades!
The Clauder Competition identifies exciting new works by New England playwrights and ensures their successful launch through readings and productions at Portland Stage. These readings 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.
Submissions for the 2024 Clauder Competition for New England Playwrights will open December 1st, 2023 and will remain open through March 31st, 2024.
Past winners or finalists who have launched successful playwriting careers include: Callie Kimball, Brenda Withers, Tom Coash, Adam Bock, Laura Harrington, Elizabeth Egloff, Bridget Carpenter, Melinda Lopez, Liz Duffy Adams, William Donnelly, Kim Rosenstock, and Pulitzer Prize-winners Quiara Alegria Hudes and Paula Vogel.
2012 Clauder Winner, Veils by Tom Coash was nominated for American Theatre Critics Association’s New Play Award. Read more about the play and the award here.
Clauder Grand Prize: a $3,000 cash award, and a workshop at Portland Stage, followed by a full scale production on our Mainstage or in our Studio Theater the following season.
Gold Prizes: $1,500 cash awards each, plus a workshop at Portland Stage.
Additional recognition will be awarded to the best play from each of the six New England states.
The 2022 Clauder Grand Prize winner
Manning by Benjamin Benne
The 2022 Gold Prize winner
The Page Turners by Mallory Jane Weiss
This year a.k. payne’s love i awethu further stood out to us as an excellent entry and we have honored that play with a cash prize and a special commendation.
Connecticut: Manning by Benjamin Benne
Maine: In The End We All Go To Providence by Julia Jennings
Massachusetts: I Love You Elizabeth Warren by Laura Neill
New Hampshire: Quietus by Richard Manley
Rhode Island: The Handless King by Elias Harley
Vermont: Provenance by Todd Cerveris
Plays must NOT have received a professional production, publication, world premiere, or a pledge/commitment for the same prior to the announcement of the Clauder Winner. This includes Actors Equity showcase and waiver productions. Plays that have had readings or non-AEA productions are still eligible.
One script per playwright.
Plays may be emailed as a .pdf, .docx, or .doc file to clauder(at)portlandstage(dot)org.
Submissions must include:
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.
Playwrights should expect a response in March of 2023.
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 our Literary Manager by clicking here.