Fresh Ink: Hull Playwriting Festival reveals line-up

Middle Child have announced the full programme for Fresh Ink, a new annual playwriting festival coming to Hull’s Fruit Market on Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July.

Photo: Tom Arran

The Fresh Ink festival includes:

  • Script-in-hand performances of work-in-progress plays, commissioned for the festival, by Rosie Race, Hannah Scorer, Grace Waga Glevey, Marc Graham, Prince Kundai and Andrew Houghton
  • Rehearsed readings of scenes by the Middle Child Writers’ Group and an excerpt of Middle Child’s 2025 production by Sid Sagar
  • A Play and a Plate events, which offer guests a free meal accompanied by a reading of contemporary new writing
  • Writing workshops led by Olivier award-winner Amy Trigg, Travis Alabanza,  Yolanda Mercy, the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain, Alan Lane and Luke Barnes
  • Industry talks about PR and marketing for writers, getting an agent, commissioning local work and making a writing career in Hull
  • A keynote speech by David Byrne, artistic director of the Royal Court and University of Hull alumnus, about the state of new writing in the UK

Each event is individually ticketed, ranging from free for industry talks and A Play and a Plate, to £5 for workshops and pay what you decide for script sharings.

Tickets are now available through the Middle Child website.

Paul Smith, artistic director of Middle Child, said: “Fresh Ink is a timely intervention at a time when producing new plays feels more challenging than ever. We’ve worked hard to create a space that feels hopeful, that supports writers to dream big and which invites audiences to feed directly into the creation of new work, made with their city in mind.

“There is something for everyone at this festival, from seasoned theatre lovers to those who want to peek behind the curtain for the first time and see how new plays are developed.

“Our workshop programme is led by some of the most exciting voices in the UK new writing scene, and the six featured new plays are testament to the incredible quality that exists in this city.

“We can’t wait to welcome Hull along to this first iteration and are delighted to work alongside co-founders Wykeland to bring Fresh Inkto life, together supporting talent development in the city.”

Dominic Gibbons, managing director of Wykeland Group, said: “Wykeland are delighted to be the co-founders and sponsors of the new Fresh Ink: Hull Playwriting Festival.

“We approached Middle Child following their highly successful production There Should Be Unicorns, which we sponsored and they performed at Stage@TheDock in the summer of 2022, to see if we could work together to create something that would have a deep cultural impact on the city and the people in it.

“Fresh Ink gives the opportunity for writers of all levels to expand their skill set and have their work performed at Stage@TheDock, a venue we opened in 2016 with the aim of it being used as a platform to develop new and exciting work.”

The six new commissions were selected from 130 entrants, who responded to an open call in November 2023 for writers with “a meaningful connection to Hull”.

Rosie Race and Hannah Scorer have both written a 70-minute play, Grace Waga Glevey and Marc Graham a 30-minute piece and Prince Kundai and Andrew Houghton a 15-minute excerpt of a larger idea.

A company of actors will perform second drafts of the respective scripts in a marquee on Stage@TheDock, an outdoor amphitheatre by the river Hull.

The six plays will be directed by Paul Smith, Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme Intensive Residency Director, Rachael Abbey, and Hull Truck Theatre artistic director, Mark Babych.

Workshops and talks will be hosted in a pop-up warehouse space on Pier Street, a three-minute walk away.

A bursary scheme, offering free tickets to under 25s for the readings and workshops, is available, supported by the I Am Fund, while A Play and a Plate is made possible by funding from the Two Ridings Community Foundation.

Fresh Ink: Hull Playwriting Festival will become an annual platform for Hull writers to create and develop new plays in the city.

Middle Child hope the festival will attract producers, venues and critics from outside of Hull to experience theatre by artists who may go unnoticed in the current climate.

The 2024 event will run as a pilot, so Middle Child can learn what works best and improve on it for the following years.

Visit for more information about the festival and to book tickets.

Fresh Ink: Hull Playwriting Festival is produced by Middle Child and sponsored by co-founders Wykeland and supported by J F Brignall Charitable Trust, I Am Fund, Two Ridings Community Foundation, Hull and East Riding Charitable Trust, the Warren Youth Project, Hull Truck Theatre and Garrick Charitable Trust.