Annual Maine Playwright's Festival Comes to Portland and Orono

Performances for the 2017 Maine Playwrights Festival, the state's most vibrant incubator for new plays by local playwrights, have been announced for April 27 through May 6 in Portland and May 7 in Orono. This year's sixteenth annual festival features the world premiere performances of six new plays by Maine playwrights. Public performances will be held in Portland at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater on Forest Avenue, and in Orono at the Cyrus Pavillion Theatre on the University of Maine campus. Tickets are available now at

"We're extremely excited to be premiering these six new plays that feature such a wide range of styles and topics," says Daniel Burson, the festival's Artistic Director. "In one evening of theater, audiences will see comedies and dramas, set in places from a Downeast laundromat to an army post in Afghanistan, and all of them written by terrific writers who call Maine their home!"

The six new plays in the 2017 festival (described below), are written by Maine playwrights Lynne Cullen, Elaine Ford, Ron Kanecke, John Manderino, David Susman, and David Vazdauskas. Their plays were selected to be featured in the festival by a committee of local theater professionals out of a pool of nearly 50 scripts submitted by playwrights from across Maine. The writers have been developing and rehearsing their plays this spring working with visiting guest playwright-in-residence Kate Snodgrass (Artistic Director of Boston Playwrights Theatre), as well as local professional directors and a cast of 17 actors based in Southern Maine.

Following seven performances at the Portland Ballet Studio Theater in Portland from April 27 through May 6, the festival plays will also be performed at the Cyrus Pavilion Theatre in Orono on May 7. This touring performance to Eastern Maine is the first time that the Maine Playwrights Festival has staged a full performance outside of Southern Maine. "Bringing the festival to audiences in Eastern Maine is an important new step for us," says Burson. "For the festival to truly showcase the best new plays written in Maine each year, it is vital that audiences beyond Southern Maine get a chance to discover and appreciate these new plays and that writers from every part of Maine can see the value to them in submitting their work to us."

In addition to the mainstage performances of the six selected festival plays, the Maine Playwrights Festival will also mount a staged reading of five other new scripts that were finalists during the selection process for the 2017 festival. These scripts will be presented at a public reading onSunday, April 23 at 7:00pm, also at the Portland Ballet Theater on Forest Avenue in Portland. The reading is open to the public on a Pay-what-you-can basis.

2017 Maine Playwrights Festival Plays

Connection, by David Vazdauskas
Following a horrific event, the struggle between forgiveness and revenge is complicated by the possibilities of the future.

Elwood's Last Job, by Elaine Ford
After forty years of doing menial jobs in a small Maine town, Elwood is about to change his life-and the local laundromat-in dramatic and surprising ways.

Miracles, by Ron Kanecke
Two characters who operate a shady business trafficking in miracles are left asking themselves if there may be more truth than they thought in their operation.

The Thing Carol Saw, by John Manderino
On a contentious car ride home, sometimes it can be hard to know where the line between reality and the imagination really lies.

The Wild Hunt, by Lynne Cullen
When retired military bomb-sniffing dog Woltan is adopted by an affluent socialite, his former army handler fights to reclaim him.

Walter Likes Henny Just Fine, by David Susman
During a chance encounter in a ladies' restroom, an elderly woman counsels her young counterpart on love, life, and the importance of a good lipstick.

2017 Maine Playwrights Dramatic Readings

A Little Lump Thing by Daniel Bryant
At Sea by Carolyn Gage
Breakfast Buddies by Samuel Richardson
In Flagrante Delicto by Josh Brassard
Talking to Cats by Arthur Boatin

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