The INK Festival 2023 took place 13-16th April (+ April 17th which was an exclusive free day for students) in Halesworth, Suffolk. We expanded into the town to create many original performance spaces where we performed more than 50 short new plays, selected this year from hundreds of submissions from new as well as experienced writers.
What is unique about INK is that we produce all the plays performed.
Chosen from annual submissions and INK workshops, each play is read at least 5 times before a short list is formed, from which directors select the plays they wish to direct. We cast the plays from auditions in Suffolk and London and each year bring together a team of more than 60 professional theatre practitioners of actors, directors, stage crew and technical staff to enable The INK Festival.
This year we had several submission categories including: The Environment, Multimedia, Radio Comedy, Musicals, Physical Theatre and more, producing a wide variety of relevant and thought-provoking plays.
As well as more than 50 short plays there was an exciting lineup of comedy, radio, art, poetry, music, children’s programmes, fascinating talks, workshops, short new films and much more.
As ever, we were delighted to have a number of plays from some very special supporters including Anthony Horowitz, Kate Mosse, Greg Mosse, Louis de Bernières, Richard Francis, and Lise Mayer.
There were special guest appearances from Alexei Sayle, Kevin Clifton, Jan Etherington, David Morrissey, Jan Ravens, Luke Wright and Radio Active in a thrilling line-up of talks and performances.
Throughout the four days, as well as more than 50 short play performances there were special Q and A’s, special performances and talks to attend which were included in the festival ticket. Plus performance poetry each lunchtime at The Angel and the most stunning Art Show in the Gallery at The Cut, curated by Michael Fitzroy with more than 250 paintings.
Kevin Clifton from Strictly Come Dancing was in conversation with Helen Atkinson Wood @ The Cut Theatre Time 2.30-3.30pm
Michael Fenton Stevens was recording live his PODCAST My Time Capsule with David Morrissey @ The Cut Theatre 3.00-4.00pm
Jan Ravens was in conversation with Luke Wright @ Cut Theatre 3.00-4.00pm
The British Voice on American Radio @ Kings’ Theatre 12.00pm – 1.00pmAmericans thought everyone in England spoke either Posh or Cockney, and radio was to blame. It’s a humorous tour of the medium that shaped the Yank view, and the handful of actors – American and British – who played hundreds of roles. 40 minutes, with many clips of old radio shows from the 40s and 50s. Presented by James Lileks, a newspaper columnist, novelist, and broadcaster from Minneapolis, Minnesota.
SCRIPT WRITING WORKSHOP @ Halesworth Library 10.00am – 12.00pm
“If it won’t fit, don’t force it” 10 ways to write excellent plays – ‘Writer & encourager of writers’ Greg Mosse lead this inspiring two-hour creative workshop, devising new story ideas out of ten fundamental principles for compelling, dramatic writing.
Followed by a book signing at Halesworth Bookshop at 12.30pm.
INK Radio Special – Conversations from a Long Marriage by Jan Etherington, with David Morrissey and Helen Atkinson Wood – @ The Cut Theatre 11.30am The inimitable Jan Etherington introduced a series of short extracts from her hit comedy BBC Radio 4 series about the ups and downs of married life. David Morrissey and Helen Atkinson Wood play the roles made famous by Joanna Lumley and Roger Allam. A Q&A follows.
Script Workshop 1.30pm-3.00pm @ The Library ‘Making your script count’ Inspirational workshop for anyone who has ever attempted to write a stage or radio play, led by Simon Nelson. Simon Nelson is the Drama Development Executive for BBC Writersoom – the BBC’s department dedicated to the discovery and development of both new and experienced screenwriters. Based in Broadcasting House, he has responsibility for writer development in London & the South of England, as well as overseeing various pan-UK projects.1.00pm – 2.30pm. Location: Halesworth Library.
Environmental Talk 1.30pm- 2.30pm @ Kings’ Theatre by David Kemp. Coastal Team Leader. Suffolk – Britain’s most dynamic coastline – 1953 & the future. David Kemp is one of the select few who understands and manages flood risk along the extensive coastline and estuaries of East Anglia. He is the Coastal Team Leader for the entire shoreline from Hunstanton to Purfleet charged with providing the advance Flood Warning Service that can help save businesses and lives in the event of a massive tidal or storm surge. In a Q&A that includes film footage and illustrations of the challenges he faces; Kemp gave us an unparalleled insight into the huge forces that have shaped our coastline from 1953 to the present and beyond.
Luke Wright performed @ The Cut Theatre 3.00pm
Halesworth Takes The Stage @ The Cut Theatre 5.30pm-6.30pm
Arguably the most creative and colourful hour in the entire Festival.
Molly Naylor and Beth Keyes Holloway stage a live radio performance of a play devised and written over two days in the INK youth workshops. The Halesworth Choir performed the first public performance of The Halesworth Song, a brand-new local anthem with music & lyrics by Dick Walter, vocal direction by Robert Gildon, composed especially for the Festival featuring local choirs. And some of our finest local actors performed Alexei Sayle and Lise Mayer’s short play Dave The Cardboard Box and East Anglian Phil Butcher’s It’s Alive!!! Plus more highlights from the previous three days.
To view our exciting programme for children click here
Halesworth Sunday Funday – Sunday 16th April saw additional and exciting street performances and activities for everyone – Market Square, Halesworth. FREE TO ATTEND.
Ripped by Nick Goundry –Jack is keen to reignite their sex life but Bella is not impressed by his muscles.
The Ring by Mark T Locke – A seasoned old pro has a few rude words of advice for a young green wrestler about to step into the ring for the first time.
Pineapple by Fintan Dineen – A late-night encounter takes an unexpected turn when a young clubber recognises an old classmate.
A Bright New Morning by Patrick Gabridge – The world is drowning and Melinda’s younger brother appears to have lost the only boat.
In The Box by Anthony Horowitz – A couple are puzzled by the sudden appearance of a small parcel wrapped in brown paper.
The Last Bus to Felixstowe by Brian Charlton – The circus comes to town during the flood of 1953. Will it be coming again?
Stepping into Fire (musical) by Tom Coash/ Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Brielle – A tightrope walker faces her moment of truth as she tries to get back on the wire after a tragic accident.
TINS by Pauline Watts – Four sisters in the waiting room of a hospital try to picklock a secret found in one of their mother’s tins.
The Last Cardboard Box by Kate Mosse – Eileen is packing up the last few books in her old house.
Ugly by Greg Mosse – Sarah is planning a Viking funeral for her school photo.
THE BOX by Louis de Bernières – A pair of religious zealots squabble over the exact date, time, and provenance of the venerable deity that may or may not be in the box.
Nectarine by Christopher Baines – Alison struggles to find a human connection inside her bubble of loneliness. Could an online date be the answer?
Umbrella Boy by Shaun Aquilina – Two ladies of uncertain age eye-up the local talent on the beach.
Moldovan Green by Alexandra Evans – Barbara has always treasured her dogs. Now they return the favour.
The 5K Marriage by Janet Taylor – Grace discovers there is more at stake in a 5K run than the humiliation of coming last.
Street Scene in Merry Englande by Katie Barron – Medieval climate rebels do battle with a Porsche driver and White Van Man.
Mime by Barry Wood – After coming home a day earlier than expected, Sue is shocked to discover her husband has been transformed into a mime artist.
The View from the Other Side by Adam Highland – Two spookily similar young men discuss their very different lives in a deserted pub.
Pritt Stick by Kayla Feldman – A young woman shares her fondness for glue.
Ham, Cheese, and a Blob by Richard Francis– There’s something strange in the decorator’s lunch box.
The Man On The Train by Thomas Bisika – Madison has seen a striking man on the train. But her stuffy husband may get in the way of her plans.
800 Weeks by Naomi Westerman – As the waters rise, an emergency law has unexpected consequences for a teenage boy.
On Beauty by Dave Carley – Two guards in an art gallery go weak at the knees when struck by true beauty.
We Eat Dog Food, We Don’t Know Why by Isaac Franklin – Lucy upsets the perfect family harmony by asking the question that must never be asked.
That Sinking Feeling by Sam Buss – John and Joan live on an iceberg. Their ever-shrinking home makes them aware that distance is what makes the heart grow fonder.
11 Weeks and 2 Days by Rosalind Adler – Hazel decides to have a word with her father despite the fact she hasn’t been born yet.
Everyone is Lying to Me (and When I say Everyone I mean Everyone) by Gavin Milnthorpe – Trish wakes up with the alarming thought that every statement of truth is in fact a lie. Probably.
Daffodil Queen by Lucy Dobree – Jill grows the perfect prize-winning daffodil every year. How dare anyone presume otherwise?
I See You by Erin De Frias – Cam is a young online sex worker with decisions to make when she falls for the boy in the grocery store.
A Thorn by Seamus Lucason – A crusty old farmer comes knocking on Tadgh’s cottage door on Great Blasket, accusing the bemused bachelor of impregnating his 28-year-old daughter.
Run Wild by Stacie Bates – An exhausted doctor hemmed-in by her job has almost forgotten what the outside world is for.
Clarissa by Christopher Stagg – When a female robot begins to question her existence, her male maker gets surprisingly emotional.
Breathe by C M Buckland – A woman takes a deep breath and sinks beneath the waves.
Out of the Darkness by Griff Scott – An ‘oversight’ by the National Coal Board puts a small town in dire jeopardy in 1966.
The Bothy Emma Struthers – Two sisters are forced to confront home truths on a wild, wet night on a Scottish mountain.
Jacko by Paul Daley – Mum and Dad are not exactly overjoyed when their son gets early release from prison. In fact they’ve been getting on very nicely without him.
Lost Dogs and Wheelie Bins by David Emery – Arriving for his first shift on the 24-hour social services hotline, Ash is immediately thrown into a world of uncollected bins, takeaways and babies in peril.
Shell by Kieran Spiers – Roisin has waited three years to confront an old flame, and little does he know what’s coming,
Deep Harvest by Sam Lawrence – Feature-length radio drama (and a first for INK). A British soldier invalided out of action can fast-track his discharge if he agrees to take part in a special operation. A nightmarish thriller… and a thriller about nightmares.
Gaffer by Rob Crossan – Feature-length radio drama (and a first for INK). Shaun paints an unvarnished picture of life as a jobbing football manager and all the prejudice, joy, and hate that goes with it.
Concentric Orbits by Rosalind Adler – A middle-aged couple, who also happen to be astronauts, bicker about who should take the first human step on Mars.
RED VELVET by Harriet Thomas- Arch rivals Doris, Irene, and Ana have entered the Little Wobbleswick cake competition. Forget jam and Jerusalem. This is death served by the slice.
HOW DO YOU DO YOUR WASHING? by Bethany Keeble – Georgie’s 90-year-old granny has a ripe line of tips about husbands, lovers, and how to do the washing. They make better sense the more you mix them up.
PRONOUNS by Richard Blaine – Two strangers struggle to pin down the truth about the other at a relationship counselling meeting… or is it a comedy workshop?
THE ONE AND OBI by Ed Ngai, Isla Kaye – Aurora is shocked to discover that her ex-boyfriend has built a secret shrine to her in his living room.
REFUGE by B J Edwards – The sound of gunfire echoes down the corridors of a holiday hotel. Panicky tourists, David and Kate, find the same cleaning cupboard to hide in.
THE FUNERAL by Katie McLeod – Chloe is juggling wine and faces at a funeral wake. Why is she there? Was she invited?
BREWSTER ISLAND by Patricia Whymark – A young thief gets more than he bargained for when he breaks into the home of a haunted war veteran.
A MEAGRE HARVEST by CM Buckland – Harry’s high-flying executive wife seems completely unaware that she has devoured the entire fruit of his labours.
GATED PARADISE by Olivia and Dexter Warburton – A young girl takes her android guardian to task about their so-called perfect life.
A ROOMFUL OF CROOKS by Ed Wiles– -Five hard-nosed bank robbers meet in a hotel room to cut the spoils but no one is who they seem.
MOON TIDE by Jill Hucklesby – 5B’s school trip to Walton-on-the-Naze takes an unexpected turn when a mysterious stranger appears on the cliffs.
FIRST DATE by Anne Fessi – A first date ends up in a broom cupboard when Michelle bumps into someone she is eager to avoid.
MAMMY AND THE TEAPOT by Mel Wicks – Two policemen trying to solve the mystery of a headless corpse suspect a cantankerous old loner in a Suffolk forest.
SELF CENTRE by Jackie Carreira – Vivi is the last person you would expect on the reception desk at a Wellness Centre. She eats bacon sandwiches and reads Heat magazine. But once upon a time she was a customer…
Three evening performances to enjoy which were separate ticketed events.
Thursday 13th April – Suffolk Shorts 7.45pm £8.00 – An opportunity to enjoy six brand new short films selected by Suffolk Shorts. As with short plays, short films require skill and determination, they are an art form in their own right
The Short Films
Papercut (6:35) – director: Edward Heredia. Juvenile offender Carter is released home on bail. His alcoholic mother is not exactly thrilled to see him.
An Irish Goodbye (23:29) – directors: Tom Berkley, Ross White. – Black comedy about chalk and cheese brothers with very different ideas about the future of the family farm when Dad dies.
An Evening With Taglioni (14:04) – directors: Jessica Wright, Morgann Runacre-Temple – A fantasia inspired by the following true story. When the legendary ballerina Marie Taglioni retired her pointe shoes were bought by a fan and cooked at a lavish dinner party.
Deep Clean (15:00)- director: B Welby. – Maddie is tasked with cleaning the house of an old woman who recently died. The thought she might not be alone turns into a horrifying vision of what she might become
Big Ears (12:56) – director: Sam Baron. – A struggling actor finds a lump on his testicle and is forced to confront some difficult choices.
Village Hours (9:59)- director: Matthew Reed. – The glorious story of the humble village hall from badminton classes to nights in with Elvis impersonators. An almost perfect ten minutes..
The Live Shows all sold out
Friday 14th April – Radio Active 7.45pm £18.00 – Catch a hilarious and unique performance of this long running and much loved show starring Angus Deayton, Helen Atkinson Wood, Michael Fenton Stevens and Philip Pope
Saturday 15th April – An Evening with Alexei Sayle – 7.45pm £18.00 – An evening of laughter with brilliant stand-up comic, actor, TV presenter and creator of Alexei Sayle’s Imaginary Sandwich Bar. Alexei will be joined on stage by Luke Wright.