INK is the UK’s leading producer of original short plays. To date, at our annual Festival in Halesworth, we have produced over 300 new plays for stage and radio by first time as well as by experienced playwrights aged 8 to 80.
We are now producing over 50 short plays a year, using professional actors, directors, and crew. A selection of the best plays are subsequently chosen to tour East Anglia and London.
The 7th INK Festival takes place on April 13th – 16th 2023. 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 20 mins, unless stated otherwise.
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 Thoughts, Next 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 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.
INK Festival 2018 deserves a 5 star rating for it dynamic approach to the arts in East Anglia
Such an inspirational example of theatre bringing people together and being a community hub.
The world should pay attention to INK
INK opens your eyes to the extraordinary potential of the short play as a must-have live art form.
INK is unique among theatre festivals... like having all your favourite bands under one roof.
INK – a brilliant festival - unpretentious, gutsy and entertaining...
Last year's INK Festival was a revelation but this year's surpassed all my expectations. INK will surely create a legacy for decades to come!
Such a buzz, so well attended and the variety of shows made it an entertaining kaleidoscope.
Hugely impressive ambition and enterprising effort... a fantastic showcase for up and coming talent.
LOVED the INK Festival. Short, brilliant performances in the coolest venue put together by the best creative team using the cream of Suffolk talent. May Halesworth be inked up forever!
So exciting to discover so many new plays at the INK Festival this year. A real pleasure to see them performed by such versatile performers!