Portland Stage Announces A Call For Plays From New England Playwrights

Portland Stage is proud to announce that New England's most prestigious playwriting contest, the Clauder Competition, is moving to a Biennial schedule. Submissions are open now, and will be accepted through March 31, 2020. For submission restrictions and guidelines, see below. The winning play will be announced in March 2021. The Clauder Grand Prize Winner will receive a cash award of $3,000, as well as a full production at Portland Stage with a professional director, designers, and actors.

The Clauder Competition was created in 1981 by Jeb Brooks who was interested in supporting New England playwrights and bringing their work to the attention of the greater theatrical community. The goal of the Clauder Competition is to 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. Brooks offered his experience as a writer, "I remember how discouraged I felt when the only response to my submission was a curt statement in the mail saying that my work had been rejected. I wanted to make the competition a more positive experience by ensuring that all submissions would be given a thoughtful reading and feedback." One of the key components of the Clauder Competition is that every writer who submits a play has that play read and reviewed by at least two readers, and every writer receives a letter from Portland Stage containing details from the evaluations of their submitted play. In discussing the move to a biennial schedule, Brooks said, "I am greatly impressed by the quality of work submitted by New England playwrights. I'm confident Portland audiences will enjoy both this latest production and future winners of the biennial Clauder Competition."

Beyond providing feedback to every author, the Clauder Competition identifies exciting new works by New England playwrights and ensures their successful launch through readings and productions. Since 1989, it has been supported by Portland Stage, a professional theater company, which adjudicates the competition and provides a creative home for the winning playwright. In addition to the Grand Prize winner, the Clauder selects two Gold Prize winners that will each receive $1,500. The Grand Prize winners will be invited to workshop their play at the Little Festival of the Unexpected, Portland Stage's annual new play festival where playwrights, professional theater artists, and audiences develop new works in a nurturing environment. The Grand Prize winning play is then provided a full production in the following year.

Past Clauder Competition winners who have launched successful playwriting careers include: Brenda Withers, Tom Coash, Gregory Hischak, Adam Bock, Laura Harrington, Elizabeth Egloff, Bridget Carpenter, Melinda Lopez, Liz Duffy Adams, William Donnelly, Kim Rosenstock, and Pulitzer Prize- winners Paula Vogel and Quiara Alegría Hudes.

Additional commendations will be awarded to the best play submitted from each of the six New England States.

The competition is open to all playwrights who currently live or attend school in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Vermont. Each playwright may submit one unpublished, full-length play. A play is not eligible if it is primarily for younger audiences or is an adaptation or translation. Plays must not require more than eight actors to produce and may not have had a professional production or a pledge for a professional production prior to the announcement of the winners of the Clauder Competition. Additional restrictions apply; for questions regarding the eligibility of a script, playwrights should visit portlandstage.org/script-submissions for more information.

Submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2020. Early submissions are encouraged.

One submission is accepted per playwright in a given cycle. Submissions must be sent by US Mail only-no e-mail, faxes, etc.

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

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