Fresh Ink Hull Playwriting Festival

Commissions

What is Fresh Ink?

Fresh Ink is a new festival designed to support the creation and development of new plays in Hull. Its focus is on performing early versions of new ideas to audiences and gathering their feedback to support the next stage of its development. The first festival in 2024 will be a pilot, allowing us to learn about how it can be most effective.

What are we looking for?

Middle Child is looking to commission writers with a variety of experiences, who have a meaningful connection to the city of Hull and are able to demonstrate why their work makes sense appearing in a festival that develops grassroots work in the city.

There are a range of different-sized commissions available, from 15-minute explorations of very early ideas all the way up to a complete 70-minute play.

What you write about is up to you, but we’re looking for stories that speak to contemporary Hull. They don’t need to be set here, or about here, but they do need to have something to say to the people that live here.

They also do not need to be in the usual Middle Child “gig theatre” style. Anything goes, except for musicals – see our FAQ – and at this stage we also do not need to see the script you would like to apply with.

What is a commission?

Put simply, commissions are when a writer is paid to write something.

As part of this festival, we are offering six commissions of varying sizes to writers with a meaningful relationship to Hull. The selected writers will develop their work with the support of our team, before having them performed in a scratch-style sharing at the pilot festival in July 2024.

The hope is that whatever your level of experience, there will be an option that is right for you. Below is a breakdown of the three different commissions and our ambition is to offer two of each.

Key Dates

Applications open

Thursday 16 November 2023

Applications close

Monday 8 January 2024

Writers announced

March 2024

Pilot festival

July 2024

FAQ

Available commissions

70-Minute Commission – x2

What do you do?

Write a 70-minute script, which is approximately 50-70 pages

What do you get paid?

£4,582. This figure represents 75% of the Independent Theatre Council (ITC) rate for a new 70-minute commission, taking you up to the point of a formal decision to produce the work. This will be paid in two instalments: £3,055 upon contract signing and another £1,572 on delivery of rewrites.

Who is it for?

This commission is for more experienced playwrights, so you will need to have had a play professionally produced before.

We’re aware that “professionally produced” can mean a variety of things. In this case, we mean a complete play of over 30-minutes in length, that has been rehearsed and performed for a live audience, and for which everyone involved was paid. If you’re not sure if you qualify, please get in touch with literary manager, Matt.

What’s the process?

You will work with the Middle Child team to develop a new script, ready for an early-stage sharing at the festival in July 2024. This process will be designed with you as the writer but will involve writing a draft of the script with rewrites, following support and feedback from the Middle Child team.

What happens after the festival?

We will meet with you to help you plan the next steps for your play and, ideally, find a way to bring it to life in a full production – either with Middle Child or another partner. If Middle Child choose to commit to producing your script, you will receive the additional 25% of the commission (£1,527) in line with a new 70-minute commission according to ITC guidelines.

30-Minute Commission – x2

What do you do?

Write a 30-minute script, which is approximately 25-35 pages. This can be a full piece or the start of a bigger idea.

What do you get paid?

£2,292, paid in two instalments. £1,528 upon signing a contract and £764 upon delivery of first rewrites. This figure represents 75% of the Independent Theatre Council (ITC) rate for a new 30-minute commission, taking you up to the point of a formal decision to produce the work.

Who is it for?

This commission is for people who are just starting to write, or maybe haven’t even started yet, but would like to try out an idea. Applicants for this commission should not have had a play professionally produced at the time of applying or currently be under commission.

We’re aware that “professionally produced” can mean a variety of things. In this case, we mean you should not have had a complete play of over 30-minutes in length produced, that has been rehearsed and performed for a live audience, and for which everyone involved was paid. If you’re not sure if you qualify, please get in touch with literary manager, Matt.

What’s the process?

You will work with the Middle Child team to develop a new script ready for an early-stage sharing in July 2024. This process will be designed with you as the writer, but will involve writing a draft of the script with support and feedback from the Middle Child team.

What happens after the festival?

We will meet with you to help you plan the next steps for your play and, ideally, find a way to bring it to life in a full production – either with Middle Child or another partner. If Middle Child were to commit to a decision to produce, you’d receive the additional 25% of the commission (£764) in line with a new 30-minute commission according to ITC guidelines. Should we wish to commission the piece and expand its length, we would look to upgrade the commission and fee in-line with ITC guidance.

15-Minute Commission – x2

What do you do?

Write a 15-minute script, which is  approximately 10-15 pages. This can be a full piece, a number of smaller extracts, or part of a bigger story. 

What do you get paid?

£750

Who is it for?

This commission is a chance for anybody to try something out. You may be an experienced writer with a brand-new idea that you want to play with, or a new writer who wants to share an early idea with an audience for the first time.

What’s the process?

You will work with the Middle Child team to develop a new script ready for an early-stage sharing in July 2024. This process will be designed with you as the writer, but will involve writing a draft of the script with support and feedback from the Middle Child team.

If you’re unsure which of these is right for you, please do get in touch with our literary manager, Matt.

Who can apply?

These opportunities are only open to applicants aged 18 and above, with a demonstrable connection to Hull.

We recognise that some people might have strong links to Hull but no longer live here and therefore we are not limiting applications by postcode. However it is important to Middle Child that this is a Hull festival, and we’d encourage anyone who is applying who doesn’t live in this area to make clear in their application why they still qualify.

Each commission does have its own criteria with regards to experience, so make sure you read these before applying.

How to apply

There are two ways to apply: a written application using an online form, or a video/audio application. Both are outlined below.

If neither of the application methods are accessible for you, please do get in touch with literary manager, Matt, to discuss other ways of applying.

In writing

Use this Google Form to tell us who you are, which commission you are applying for and more about the play you’d like to make.

You may not know all the answers yet and that’s fine – we can work it out together. At this stage, we’d just like to get a sense of what excites you about your idea. The main questions are:

1. Please demonstrate your connection to Hull, and why it makes sense for your work to be featured in a grassroots new writing festival in Hull (no more than 500 words)
2. Describe your idea in a couple of sentences (no more than 50 words)
3. What is the story you want to tell, what happens, who are the characters, what is it about? (No more than 500 words)
4. Why does this story matter to you? (no more than 500 words)

At the end of the form, if you are applying for the 30-minute or 70-minute commission, you will be asked to send a 10-page example of your work by email.

If you are applying for the 15-minute commissions, you will be asked to send us a one-page example of your writing.

These should be sent as a PDF or Word document to scripts@middlechildtheatre.co.uk.

Extracts can be from a pre-existing script, a piece you are currently working on, or something you have written just for the application. Emails should be titled Fresh Ink + Your Name.

The application form includes a section containing equal opportunities monitoring questions, however if filling in this form is a problem let us know and we can arrange an alternative method. The equal opportunities monitoring form will not affect your application.

Apply
By video or audio

Applications should be sent to scripts@middlechildtheatre.co.uk with the subject line Fresh Ink + Your Name.

In the body of the email please include which commission you are applying for and attach a video or audio file, no longer than two-minutes, which includes:

• An introductory outline of who you are, and your writing experience. We would like to hear how you match the specific criteria of the commission you are applying for.

You should also include an additional video or audio file, no longer than five-minutes, which includes an outline of the show want to make. It should aim to answer the following questions:

1. Please demonstrate your connection to Hull, and why it makes sense for your work to be featured in a grassroots new writing festival in Hull.
2. Describe your idea in a couple of sentences.
3. What is the story you want to tell, what happens, who are the characters and what is it about?
4. Why does this story matter to you?

You may not know all the answers yet, which is fine: we can work it out together. At this stage, we’d just like to get a sense of what excites you about your idea.

If you are applying for the 30-minute or 70-minute commission, you also need to attach a 10-page example of your work by email.

If you are applying for the 15-minute commissions, you need to attach a one-page example of your writing.

This can be from a pre-existing script, from a piece you are currently working on or something you have written just for the application.

After sending your application you will be sent a link to an equal opportunities monitoring form, however if filling in this form is a problem let us know and we can arrange an alternative method. The equal opportunities monitoring form will not affect your application.

When is the deadline?

The deadline to apply for all three commissions is 5pm on Monday 8 January 2024. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

What is the process for selection?

Eligible applications will be read by Middle Child’s literary team, who will create a shortlist. Shortlisted applications will then be presented to our steering panel, which will consist of a mix of writers, artists, and funding partners. They will then make a final decision on which applications have been chosen.

When will I find out?

All applicants will find out if they have been commissioned or not by Friday 1 March 2024.

FAQ
Fresh Ink: Hull Playwriting Festival – Founding Partners
Fresh Ink: Hull Playwriting Festival is supported by:
Middle Child are supported by: