About INK 2022

INK THE SHORT NEW PLAY COMPANY

Watching your words become flesh and blood for the first time is a life-changing experience for a writer. It’s even better when the audience is challenged, inspired & entertained.

INK is the UK’s leading producer of original short plays. To date we have produced over 300 new plays for stage and radio by playwrights aged 11 to 80 at our annual Festival in Halesworth.

We are now producing over 50 short plays a year, most by first-time writers, using professional actors, directors, and crew. A selection of the best plays are subsequently chosen to tour East Anglia and London.

The annual INK Festival is the week after Easter. As well as plays it showcases poetry, art, workshops, and industry talks.

Our mission is to inspire. We accept submissions over the summer from everyone regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity. There are no rules except that plays should be between 1 and 30 mins.

Here are some of the writers at INK Festival 2022

Sarah Baxter, (Michelle and Little Fish), is a writer of flash fiction. Sarah, from Colchester, says flash helps her explore her ‘sideways mind’. This is the first professional performance of any of her work and it is directed by BAFTA award-winning director, Paul Schlesinger.

Erin Cooper, (Cross Over), is 15. This is her first script, written when she was only 13. Her love of books and film kindled her interest in the arts, and she is thrilled to be taking part. Chris Larner, a veteran of The Right Size and much more besides, directs.

Mark Donald, (Sharp Scratch), has submitted a play barely two minutes long yet it’s a gem. Mark trained at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and has a swathe of credits for stage and screen.

Griff Scott, (One of Those People), is an INK prodigy. She had her first plays performed at INK and now leads writers’ workshops and has established her own company, Radio Vision.

Martha Loader, (Cuckoo, and Mugged), is a playwright, actor, and producer. This is her fifth year working with INK and her stinging play about County Lines, (Cuckoo), is a special commission that is also slated to tour. She was mentored for this project by Clean Break’s writer-in-residence Lucy Kirkwood, arguably best known for Chimerica.

Jan Etherington, (Elvis & Me with Gavin Petrie), has been a loyal and prolific INK stalwart since we began. Her spikey wit has charmed millions in television and radio series such as Second ThoughtsNext of Kin, and the current Radio 4 hit Conversations from a Long Marriage with Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam.

Ben Mead, (Who Needs Stephen King?), makes his INK debut with a very un-King-like account of a relationship. Rob Jarvis, perhaps best known for his roles as Eddie in Hustle and Russell in Emmerdale, directs.

Miranda Hart, (The Most Important Journey Doesn’t Need A Passport), is best known for being herself. Her short play for the INKredibles section is a collector’s item.

INK IN THE COMMUNITY — GIVING A VOICE TO THOSE RARELY HEARD

INK works because it enables people to play a part in the local culture: as writers, as actors, as volunteers, as audience.

Because we are a charity, we have no commercial agenda.

The joy, and indeed challenge, of the short play format is that it has next to no rules. There is room for novelty, diversity, anger, and humour. Sadness too.

We believe in what we do so much that we teach it in workshops, and bring it to schools, care homes, and prisons. In this coming Festival you will see plays about racism, euthanasia, bereavement, bullying, County Lines, the environmental crisis, and faith. Of scripts submitted for this Festival, 55% are from first-time writers, of whom 58% are under the age of 25.

Year on year INK is getting larger and louder. We now have significant partnerships with other festivals and theatres including Snape Fringe, Alde Valley Arts, First Light, Digital Drama, Theatre on the Coast, High Tide, The Aldeburgh Literary Festival, and our long-standing friends University of East Anglia.

We are ever-delighted and ever-grateful for the many contributions we receive from illustrious well-wishers who give freely of their time and work to help raise the profile of INK.

The 2019 Festival — the last pre-Covid — attracted award-winning directors such as Paul Schlesinger and Peter Kavanagh, writers such as Scarlett Curtis, Libby Purves, Jon Canter, and Shaparak Khorsandi, and talks by Richard Curtis and Emmy Award casting director, Rachel Freck.

We are no less blessed this year… as you shall shortly see.