Actors, from left, Nathan Sylvester, Brynn Lewallen, and Josh Brassard in the 2021 Maine Playwrights Festival. Photo by Stowell Watters)

PORTLAND — Acorn Productions, producers of the annual Maine Playwrights Festival, recently announced that they have begun accepting scripts for this year’s 20th edition of the state’s long-running incubator for new plays by local playwrights. Anybody living in Maine is eligible to submit a new play between eight and 30 minutes in length for consideration in the festival. The deadline for submissions is Sunday, Nov. 28. Submission information is available at acorn-productions.org.

“We’re proud to have produced the 2021 festival as an online streaming experience, but we’re also looking forward to being back in a theater for our 20th anniversary season,” Daniel Burson, the festival’s artistic director, said in a news release from the organization. “If the pandemic does not allow for in-person performances next spring, though, we’ll be ready to pivot. In that case, the 2022 festival will either move outdoors, or be filmed and released for on-demand streaming. We’re committed to showcasing the work of Maine’s playwrights — whatever it takes!”

The festival is centered on developing and honing short plays, from submission through staged readings, rewrites, and culminating in public performances. The 2022 Maine Playwrights Festival will be comprised of two weekends of fully staged performances of short plays, to be performed in Portland in April-May of 2022 (if the public health situation allows). The Festival anticipates selecting 5 to 7 short plays for production this year. The selected playwrights will receive extensive support 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 also get the opportunity to workshop their plays with this year’s professional playwright-in-residence (to be announced in September). Acorn also is offering a playwriting workshop this fall — taught remotely over Zoom — for playwrights of all experience levels to work on refining their scripts for submission. Playwrights who are interested in submitting a new play for consideration, or registering for the class, should visit Acorn’s website for complete details.

The festival has evolved through the years from a set of dramatic readings at Acorn’s old studio on Congress Street to a full series of 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 late 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.

For more information, call 207-200-8156 or email [email protected].

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