Actors Genevieve Breitbach, Catherine Buxton and Nate Stephenson in “Surprise Inc!,” the 2023 Maine Playwrights Festival. Katie Day photo

Acorn Productions, producers of the annual Maine Playwrights Festival, recently announced that they are now accepting scripts for the 22nd edition of the long-running incubator for new plays by local playwrights. Anybody living in Maine is eligible to submit a new play for consideration in the festival. All new plays submitted to the festival must be original works 8-30 minutes in length and have not received a professional production prior to submission. The deadline for submissions is Nov. 27. Submission information is available at

“At the Maine Playwrights Festival, we’re excited to not only to showcase local playwrights’ work but also to provide ways for writers at all sorts of levels to develop their craft as playwrights,” Daniel Burson, the festival’s artistic director, said in prepared release. “When you submit a script to the festival, it might lead to a world premiere production next spring. Or it might also lead to a workshop reading, a writing class led by a professional playwright or simply a chance to practice the remarkable art of telling stories through theater. We want to offer support for Maine’s playwrights at every stage of their writing lives.”

The festival is centered on developing and honing short plays from submission through staged readings, rewrites and culminating in public performances. The 2024 Maine Playwrights Festival will be comprised of two weekends of fully staged performances of short plays to be performed in April 2024 in Portland. The festival anticipates selecting five or 6 short plays for production. The selected playwrights will receive extensive support for revising their pieces during a workshop phase before the plays go into rehearsals. In addition to the festival productions, several playwrights not selected for the full festival will get the opportunity to workshop their plays with this year’s professional playwright-in-residence (to be announced later this month).

The Maine Playwrights Festival has evolved through the years from a set of dramatic readings at Acorn’s studio space on Congress Street to a series of full performances by some of Maine’s best-known playwrights. Each year, playwrights from across Maine submit between 50 and 70 scripts to the festival, and a committee of local theater professionals reads them and selects a small group of plays for production at public performances in the spring. Over the years, the festival has showcased over 100 Maine playwrights, many of whom have subsequently had their work produced at theater festivals all over the country.

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