Portland Civic Theatre Guild New Play Award 2023

The Portland Civic Theatre Guild is seeking submissions from Portland Metro Area playwrights for a new play as part of the 2023 Fertile Ground Festival of New Works.

Submissions will be accepted starting March 1, 2022
Submission deadline is July 18, 2022.


The Portland Civic Theatre Guild will produce a reading of the selected new play as part of the 2023 Fertile Ground Festival of New Works. The production will include a paid professional director and paid professional actors, registration for Fertile Ground, and venue, either in person or virtual.

The winning playwright will receive an honorarium of $750.


  • Submissions must be original full-length plays that have not been produced (though previous workshops and readings are okay). Translations, musicals, one acts and children’s plays will not be accepted. The playwright must be from the Portland Metro Area.
  • The play may have 1-6 characters.  Plays with more than 6 characters, including those in which one actor plays multiple roles, will not be considered.
  • Submissions are limited to one play per playwright.
  • Plays previously submitted for the PCTG New Play Award will not be considered.
  • The play must not be scheduled for professional production at the time of submission.
  • The manuscript must be written in standard professional play format. A list of characters must be included.
  • Please include your name and contact information on the title page. A brief biography may be included, but this is not required.
  • Subject line for submission should read: 2023 PCTG New Play Award, Title of Play, Playwright’s Name.
  • Submissions will be accepted electronically in PDF format.

Please send submissions to by July 18, 2022.

The Portland Civic Theatre Guild Celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the Portland Civic Theatre Guild New Play Award with Dorothy's Dictionary by EM Lewis. 


2022 will mark the tenth anniversary of the Portland Civic Theatre Guild’s commitment to Portland area playwrights and new works through the Portland Civic Theatre Guild New Play Award. Each spring The Guild calls for submissions from Portland area playwrights, selects a new script, and provides everything the playwright needs to bring the new work from the page to the stage. 

Dorothy's Dictionary will receive a virtual staged reading produced by PCTG as part of the 2022 Fertile Ground Festival of New Works.

Synopsis: Sparks fly when Zan, an angry high school student, is forced to work off his community service assignment helping Dorothy, an ailing librarian. But each of them might just have what the other needs... if they can only find the words. Dorothy's Dictionary is about how good books, careful listening, true friendship, and kindness can help you chart your course in life, even when you are really, really lost.

E.M. Lewis (playwright) is an award-winning playwright, teacher and opera librettist. Her work has been produced around the world, and published by Samuel French. She received the Steinberg Award for How the Light Gets In and Song of Extinction, and the Primus Prize for Heads, the Ted Schmitt Award from the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a playwriting fellowship from New Jersey State Arts Commission, the 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship in Drama, and an Edgerton Award for Magellanica. Other plays include Apple Season ( National New Play Network rolling world premiere), The Gun Show  (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), Infinite Black Suitcase, True Story, and You Can See All the Stars (Kennedy Center Commission). Operas include Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Fallen Giant and Town Hall. Lewis is currently the Mellon Foundation Playwright-in-Residence at Artists RepertoryTheatre (ART), where she is working on a co-commission from Art and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the American Revolutions program called The Great Divide.  Lewis is a member of LineStorm Playwrights, ASCAP, and the Dramatists Guild. She lives on her family's farm in the Willamette Valley.

The Portland Civic Theatre Guild is also pleased to recognize our six finalists for their outstanding works:


  • A Strange Seed by Kwik Jones
    A new play by Portland playwright Kwik Jones, author of Cat Napper, winner of the 2021 New Play Award.
  • Acts of Creation by Brianna Barrett
    Thea is convinced she's dying. Her wife Reed is convinced she's not. When their daughters arrive for the family's annual Mother's Day celebration, Thea reveals she's created an artificial intelligence program to write her masterpiece before she dies. The family must confront what it means to honor a loved one's legacy-and whether we can choose how we are remembered by others.
  • Four Sparrows by Rich Rubin
    The year: 1606; the place: London
    As a deadly plague spreads throughout the city, the entire population is gripped in a vise of dread and panic. As neighbor turns against neighbor, Dr. Simon Munson - a noted physician and astrologer-soon finds himself in mortal combat with both a medical scourge and the fear and suspicion of his fellow citizens.
  • Killing TJ by Nancy Moss
    Angry after a boy dumps her, high school junior Sonya defaces the school's statue of Thomas Jefferson. She receives a two-week suspension and is tutored by Noah, one of the few Black students in the school, who gives her a new view of American history.
  • Sisters by Kathleen Tomko
    In this era where we can't agree to disagree, Maggie attempts to reconcile old conflicts with her sister by weaving actual Oregon history around their intimate family story. She uses the subterfuge of the WWII bombing of an Oregon forest by a Japanese pilot who later becomes a man of peace, to intricately reveal the complicated life of their sixties flower-child mother along with some shocking family skeletons.
  • Sent Packing by Bernard Duffy
    A woman reviews her life following the loss of her life long partner.


Previous New Play Award winners include The Sweatermakers by Andrew Wardenaar, Love is Enough by Donna Barrow-Green, Deception by Nancy Moss Rimbaud’s Daughter in Louisiana (or the Drunken Pirogue) by Steve Patterson, Badge of Honor by Tim Blough, I Love You/Who Are You by Matthew Miller,  Shakespeare's Skull by Rich Rubin, Recent Unsettling Events by Andrea Stolowitz, and Cat Napper by Kwik Jones..

For information about Fertile Ground: A City-Wide Festival of New Works, visit

Any questions you may have about these awards feel free to email us at