Little Festival of the Unexpected Logo

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.

Catherine Buxton, Sally Wood (AEA), Nedra Snipes (AEA) in PERSEVERANCE by Callie Kimball. Photo by Mical Hutson.

Demystifying the Creative Process

Little Festival of the Unexpected is an annual event that furnishes a supportive environment for playwrights to develop their work in rehearsal with professional collaborators, as well as a unique opportunity for audiences to catch a firsthand look at the creative process that brings scripts to the stage through public readings.

Playwrights-in-Residence

Each year, a cohort of two to four playwrights are in residence at Portland Stage for the festival as they continue to develop their scripts with input from professional actors, directors, and dramaturges in rehearsal and audience members during open discussions held after the public readings of each play. 

Each playwright in residence receives a stipend as well as housing during the festival. Limited support for travel is also available.

A Launchpad for Success

Past LFU scripts have successfully moved on to full productions at Portland Stage and at other professional theaters around the country. Both Almost, Maine by John Cariani (LFU 2003) and Papermaker by Monica Wood (LFU 2014) went on to become the most commercially successful Mainstage productions in Portland Stage’s history. Meanwhile, many other LFU works have gone on to productions across the country, including successful Off-Broadway productions and TV and Film adaptations.

LFU 2020s

MARIANAS TRENCH

Little Festival of the Unexpected

WHAT COMES NEXT

Little Festival of the Unexpected

PERSEVERANCE (2020)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

Rx MACHINA

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE LAST SHIP TO PROXIMA CENTAURI (2021)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

IN HIS HANDS

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

Sweet Goats & Blueberry Señoritas (2022)

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Virtual

Madeleines (2022)

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Virtual

Riverbank

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Virtual

LFU 2010s

KOALAS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

PARADISE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

SAM

Little Festival of the Unexpected

TIGERS BE STILL

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

THE CENTER OF GRAVITY (2010)

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

ARIADNE ON THE ISLAND

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

DICKENS’ DREAM

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE AWAKE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

ASH

Little Festival of the Unexpected

TOMORROW IN THE BATTLE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

LOVE / SICK

Little Festival of the Unexpected

BIG MOUTH THUNDER THIGHS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

BROOMSTICK

Little Festival of the Unexpected

VEILS (2013)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE VIKINGS OF MUNJOY HILL

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

LAKE UNTERSEE

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

THE FIRST MRS. ROCHESTER

Little Festival of the Unexpected

PAPERMAKER (2014)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

FORTY

Little Festival of the Unexpected

DYING TO KNOW

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

STRING AROUND MY FINGER (2016)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

SOFONISBA

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

SEX AND OTHER DISTURBANCES

Little Festival of the Unexpected

REFUGE/MALJA

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE NICETIES

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE QUEEN OF SAD MISCHANCE

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

READ TO ME (LFU 2019)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE BONE GIRLS

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

LFU 2005-2009

AUTUMN HOPE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

TEN TRUTHS ABOUT FLATFOLDS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

FAREWELLS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

TWO DOZEN QUESTIONS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE VIEW FROM TALL

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE BOOK OF HOURS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

MONOPOLY!

Little Festival of the Unexpected

RARE BIRD

Little Festival of the Unexpected

LONGFELLOW: A LIFE IN WORDS (2006)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

MARVEL

Little Festival of the Unexpected

MAGNETIC NORTH (2007)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE OWL GIRL

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

LONGFELLOW: A LIFE IN WORDS (2007)

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE PASSION OF THE HAUSFRAU (2008)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

PEER GYNT

Little Festival of the Unexpected

OUT OF STERNO

Little Festival of the Unexpected

LAST GAS (2009)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE TOYMAKER’S WAR

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE REAL MCGONAGALL

Little Festival of the Unexpected

LFU 2000-2004

OUR GOOD NEIGHBOR

Little Festival of the Unexpected

VOICES FROM THE SEA

Little Festival of the Unexpected

WHALE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

WOMEN AND THE SEA

Little Festival of the Unexpected

FALL OF THE HOUSE OF GLASS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

ALMOST, MAINE (2003)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

DOG ACT

Little Festival of the Unexpected

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF DREAMS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

HALLOWED GROUND (2000)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

KIDDING JANE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

DR. SAM IS UNDER YOUR BED

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE BATHTUB DIARIES

Little Festival of the Unexpected

APOCALYPSO!

Little Festival of the Unexpected

YEMAYA’S BELLY (2004)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

REMUDA

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

WONDERLAND

Little Festival of the Unexpected | Clauder

LFU 1995-1999

BLOOD SHOCK BOOGIE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

AS BEES IN HONEY DROWN

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE FLOOD

Little Festival of the Unexpected

QUASI UN FANTASIA and TERMINAL EXIT

Little Festival of the Unexpected

FIRST LADY

Little Festival of the Unexpected

LOOKING FOR LOVE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

GIRL’S GUIDE TO THE DIVINE COMEDY

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE PAVILION

Little Festival of the Unexpected
THE FIRE EATER

THE FIRE EATER

Little Festival of the Unexpected
GUM

GUM

Little Festival of the Unexpected
FAGGOT WITH A GUN

FAGGOT WITH A GUN

Little Festival of the Unexpected
SHOOTING IN MADRID

SHOOTING IN MADRID

Little Festival of the Unexpected
SHE’S JUST AWAY!

SHE’S JUST AWAY!

Little Festival of the Unexpected
THE LOVER

THE LOVER

Little Festival of the Unexpected
THE TURN OF THE SCREW

THE TURN OF THE SCREW

Little Festival of the Unexpected

MEN DIE SOONER

Little Festival of the Unexpected

UNDER THE SKIN

Little Festival of the Unexpected

A BICYCLE COUNTRY

Little Festival of the Unexpected

LEAVING QUEENS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

MANIFEST (1998)

Clauder | Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE SHANEEQUA CHRONICLES

Little Festival of the Unexpected

LFU 1990-1994

JUSTINE

JUSTINE

Little Festival of the Unexpected
MIX

MIX

Little Festival of the Unexpected
1000 AVANT-GARDE PLAYS

1000 AVANT-GARDE PLAYS

Little Festival of the Unexpected
TERMINAL HIP

TERMINAL HIP

Little Festival of the Unexpected

CHRISTINA ALBERTA’S FATHER

Little Festival of the Unexpected

UNTITLED (LINDBURGH)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

AIRTIME: CALL-IN & LIVE WITNESS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

BLOWN SIDEWAYS THROUGH LIFE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

CORNER STORE GEOGRAPHY

Little Festival of the Unexpected

WHAT A CAT

Little Festival of the Unexpected

SCOPOPHILIA

Little Festival of the Unexpected

PARTIAL OBJECTS

Little Festival of the Unexpected

SABINA (1993)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THE DARK CLOWN

Little Festival of the Unexpected

THIS DAY AND AGE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

CHURCH OF THE SOLE SURVIVOR (1994)

Little Festival of the Unexpected

TALES FROM THE TIME OF THE PLAGUE

Little Festival of the Unexpected

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