A new theatre festival is being launched in Hull, showcasing plays by local writers. Organisers behind Fresh Ink say it will become an annual platform for playwrights in the city to create and develop new work. Performances will take place at venues across the city’s Fruit Market district over one weekend in July 2024.
The concept of the festival has been created by Hull theatre company Middle Child and is inspired by ‘scratch nights’, where early drafts of new plays are shared with audiences for the first time. Six new plays of varying lengths will be commissioned for the inaugural festival, with applications now open to writers with a link to Hull.
Middle Child artistic director and chief executive Paul Smith said he hoped the festival would become a “playground” for artists and audiences to come together.
“I cannot think of a better place for a new playwrighting festival than our home, Hull, a place packed with creative talent.
“Writing is in the very fabric of the city, and we are excited to create this new playground for voices known and unknown over the coming years. We know first-hand the joys of Hull audiences, their passionate support for new ideas and their confidence to say what they think.
“These qualities fill us with anticipation for the moment these new plays are spoken aloud for the first time, as Fresh Ink is all about collaboration and a city coming together to tell new stories and explore new possibilities.”
During the festival, audiences will get to speak to writers and directors after each show as well as take part in various give-it-a-go theatre workshops.
The six commissions include two 15-minute pieces, two 30-minute shows and two more up to 70 minutes long. Applications for a commission need to be submitted before 8 January. Next year’s festival will be a pilot to allow Middle Child to assess what will work best going forward.
Funding for the festival has been secured for three years from Hull-based developers Wykeland Group, alongside a two-year funding package from the JF Brignall Charitable Trust.
For more details about the festival and information on how to apply for a commission visit the Middle Child website.