Oregon Play Prize Awarded

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Owen Carey


SIGNS by Steve Rathje

Awarded by Public Vote

Winner receives $10,000 commission, development & production

Rathje is a 21-year-old student at Stanford University and a 2014 graduate of Lake Oswego High School. Steve’s play SIGNS was recently named a Finalist in the 2016 National Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference. His other plays have been published by Samuel French Inc. and Dramatics Magazine and have been produced by Stanford University, the International Thespian Conference, the Portland Fertile Ground Festival and more. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Proscenium Journal and co-producer of the Proscenium Live Festival of New Works. He has also acted with several Portland theaters including Artists Repertory Theatre, Northwest Classical Theatre and Coho Productions. Steve currently attends Stanford University, where he studies Symbolic Systems, Psychology, and Theatre and Performance Studies. Learn about SIGNS here.

Hey, Oregon, thanks for giving us a hand in commissioning a new play for us to produce in an upcoming season!

Here was our process:

  • Plays were submitted to Artists Rep between November 1, 2015 and January 31, 2016. We received 131 proposals for consideration.
  • Our team of 24 readers (comprised of Artists Rep staff and volunteers from the community) evaluated the plays and advanced 33 of them to a second round.
  • Between April 1st and June 30th, these 33 plays were read and scored by the team of readers. Each play was read by at least 4 readers, and evaluated on the basis of originality, dramatic action, language, characters, theatricality, and appropriateness for Artists Rep.
  • Three finalists were selected mid-July, 2016.
  • We invited the public to weigh in on which of these three terrific plays they most wanted to see produced.
  • The Oregon Play Prize was awarded September 21, 2016. The timeline to production will depend on the readiness of the project.

Here’s how we ran it:

  • Plays must be by a resident of Oregon. A few exceptions were made for those who have strong ties to Oregon but are not current residents.
  • Scripts could be in any stage of completion, from a well-developed idea to a completed draft. Plays must be unproduced.
  • A panel of Artists Rep staff and volunteers read all submissions. At least two people read each script in the first round; at least four people read each script in the second round.
  • Submissions were provided to readers using a blinded format (in other words, playwrights’ names were removed from all documents, so that readers did not know who wrote what play; in this way, the scripts were evaluated on their own merits rather than filtered with personal familiarity.)
  • Three finalists were advanced to the public voting round. Descriptions of the plays, playwrights, and sample scenes from the plays are posted here.
  • For complete submission guidelines, click here.


 The Oregon Play Prize. Written by an Oregonian. Chosen by Oregonians!