Script Submissions

The two primary ways playwrights can submit new plays for consideration at Portland Stage are through the Little Festival of the Unexpected (Portland Stage’s annual new play development festival, open to all playwrights) and Clauder Competition (for New England-based Playwrights only). Specific submission guidelines for these opportunities can be found below. In general:

  • Literary Agents may submit complete full-length scripts on behalf of their clients.
  • Playwrights from the US or abroad who do not have agents may submit 10-page dialogue samples of new, full-length plays for consideration in Little Festivals.
  • New England-based Playwrights may submit complete full-length scripts to the Clauder Competition. (The next round of the Clauder Competition will open for submissions in June 2019)

Portland Stage has a policy of not accepting or reading any unsolicited scripts that do not meet our submission guidelines.

Little Festival of the Unexpected (LFU)

Submission Guidelines

Submissions for LFU are accepted every other year (2019, 2021, 2023, etc) July 1st through October 1st for consideration the following May. Only scripts and samples of full-length plays are considered for the Festival.

  • Literary agents may submit complete scripts on behalf of their clients.
  • 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 LFU 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 US Mail only – no e-mails, faxes, etc.

Plays must require no more than 8 actors to perform. Playwrights must provide a precise casting plot for larger casts that require doubling.

Submit by mail to:
Portland Stage Company
Attn: Literary Manager
P.O. Box 1458
Portland, ME 04104

For questions about script submissions or eligibility, please email Literary Manager.


Clauder Competition Eligibility

  • 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, please email us.
  • 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. 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 will sign an agreement pertaining to future royalties and other stipulations, for more information please contact us.

Clauder Competition Submission Guidelines

One script per playwright.
Submissions must be sent by US Mail only – no emails, faxes, etc.

Submissions must include:

  • A complete blind copy script with their name and contact info removed from the title page.
  • A cast breakdown Plays must require no more than 8 actors to perform. Playwrights must provide a precise casting plot for larger casts that require doubling.
  • An artistic statement describing where they are in their process (is the play still undergoing major changes, are there questions you have about certain sequences, are you only looking at minor textual changes or cuts going forwards, etc.). This is useful for us to take into consideration when evaluating plays. 

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. Copies will be destroyed after evaluation.

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.

Playwrights should expect a response in March of 2021.

DEADLINE:  Submissions will open again in June 2019 and will close on March 31st, 2020.

Please submit questions and plays to:

Attn: Literary Manager
Portland Stage Company
P.O. Box 1458
Portland, ME 04104

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.