Visitor FAQ – Fresh Ink: Hull Playwriting Festival

What is Fresh Ink?

It’s a new festival designed to support writers with a connection to Hull to create and develop new plays in the city. Inspired by “scratch” theatre nights, the focus will be on performing early versions of new ideas to audiences and gathering their feedback to support the next stage of its development. This first festival in 2024 will be a pilot, so Middle Child can learn what works best and improve on it for the following years.

What does “scratch” mean?

A scratch performance is a rough and ready sharing of a piece of work that is still in development. Scratches are often performed script-in-hand, after only a few days of rehearsals, with little to no set design, costumes, props or music. They are a valuable way for theatre makers to experiment with a piece of work, see how an audience responds and learn how they might develop a play further. Middle Child have run a successful scratch programme called Out Loud, in partnership with Silent Uproar.

What does “a connection to the city of Hull” mean?

This festival is designed to support grassroots development of new work in Hull and will showcase early versions of new plays commissioned especially for Fresh Ink. During the application process, all applicants were asked about their connection to Hull. We were keen to not restrict eligible applicants to postcodes and therefore recognised that being from a place is more nuanced than just an address. When we asked this question, we wanted to understand why it made sense for applicants’ work to be programmed by a festival with a specific Hull-focus.

This year’s festival sees the six successfully commissioned writers, all with a meaningful relationship to the city, perhaps through growing up here, living here for a time, family connections and a number of other reasons.

How long are the plays?

No Woman Is An Island and Can We Be Friends? are both approx. 70 minutes long.

Phobia and Jack & Gill, which are shared back-to-back, are approx. 60 minutes long, including an interval.

Isabelle and Senzeni Na?, which are shared back-to-back, are approx. 60 minutes long, including an interval.

What age is Fresh Ink suitable for?

All play sharings are suitable for a recommended age of 16+.

Babes in arms are welcome and you do not need to purchase an additional ticket for them. There are changing facilities in the toilets at Nibble, available for festival goers to use.

Do the sharings come with any content warnings?

Yes, see this page for all content notes.

Do the sharings contain any strobe lighting?

No, the sharings are presented script-in-hand with very minimal lighting.

What time do the sharings start?

See our What’s On page for all start times. Please note that, while all of the plays are performed twice over both days of the festival, they have different start times.

What time do doors open?

Generally, doors will open about 15 minutes before the advertised start time of each event at Stage@TheDock and we will ask audience members to vacate the marquee 15 minutes after an event finishes, so we can set-up for the next one.

The time between events at Pier Street is more of a squeeze, so we’ll be asking attendees to exit after workshops and talks more promptly.

Where are the venues?

Stage@TheDock is an outdoor amphitheatre at the mouth of the River Hull, opposite The Deep and part of the C4DI complex. It is accessed from Humber Street and the postcode is HU1 1UU. A weatherproof marquee is being erected on Stage@TheDock for the festival.

1-2 Pier Street is a converted warehouse space on Pier Street, off Humber Street, a three-minute walk from Stage@TheDock.

See our Venues page for more information about both spaces.

Are the sharings performed outdoors?

Festival events at Stage@TheDock will take place inside a weather-proof marquee especially built for the occasion.

Where will I sit?

The marquee at Stage@TheDock will have an end-on theatre style layout, with rows of seats for audiences facing a raised stage. Seating is unreserved: just come on in and find a place. There will be approximately 100 seats. For the talks and workshops held at the venue on Pier Street, the layout will be more relaxed with seating and tables. Capacity for the festival talks is 40, whilst the workshops will be in smaller groups of 20.

How much are tickets?

Tickets vary according to the type of event. Rehearsed readings of our six new plays are pay what you decide, from £3-10. Workshops cost £5 and talks are free, but ticketed so we can manage numbers.

How do I book tickets?

Tickets are sold through Hull Truck Theatre, who have a box office system and staffing best suited to this kind of event. Click on a “Book Now” button on the Middle Child website to go to the Hull Truck Theatre website to book tickets. You can also book over the phone by calling 01482 323638, or over the counter at Hull Truck Theatre.

What if an event I want to see sells-out online?

A limited number of tickets will be held and sold in-person on each day of the festival. You can purchase them by coming to see us at the box office tent at Stage@TheDock.

Please note: the box office can only accept card payments, not contactless or cash.

Where can I park my car?

The nearest car park is the Fruit Market Multi-Storey car park. Vehicles can enter from Blackfriargate and the pedestrian entrance is across the road from Stage@TheDock, by a zebra crossing. The same car park is approximately a two-minute walk from 1-2 Pier Street.

Please note: the A63 eastbound sliproad onto Market Place is closed for the duration of the festival, with diversions in place.

Do the venues have wheelchair access?

Yes. Wheelchair access at Stage@TheDock down to the marquee is available via a lift and we will have staff and volunteers available to direct you if required. 1-2 Pier Street has level access throughout.

Is there a bar?

A bar will be available next to the marquee at Stage@TheDock, run by Taphouse of Humber Street. There is no bar inside the pop-up space at 1-2 Pier Street.

Is there a breakout area?

There are lots of open spaces in the complex around the marquee and Stage@TheDock that you can easily and quickly access during the festival.

Is there a relaxed performance?

Whilst there is no specific ‘relaxed performance’ of the sharings, rehearsed readings are relaxed by design, as actors will read from scripts with minimal lighting and no set. Audience members can leave the space if they need to at any time.

Is there a festival BSL-interpreter?

BSL-interpreter, Vicci Ackroyd, will be with us during the festival. All rehearsed readings at Stage@TheDock on Saturday 20 July will be BSL-interpreted.

All workshops and talks at 1-2 Pier Street on Sunday 21 July, are able to be BSL-interpreted, according to demand.

Please let us know if you are a BSL user when booking tickets, by selecting the BSL-user box at checkout, and we will coordinate with Vicci, who will attend the event you have booked.

For BSL users wishing to see any workshops or talks at Pier Street on Saturday 20 July please do get in touch with Hull Truck Theatre box office to let us know. Whilst Vicci will be unable to interpret these, as she will be at Stage@TheDock, we are able to provide you with some resources and content from the workshop or talk.

What other access provisions are there?

All performers, workshop facilitators and talk participants will use microphones.

Do the venues have toilets?

Stage@TheDock audience members will have access to toilets, including an accessible toilet, at Nibble, next door to Stage@TheDock.

Toilets, including an accessible toilet, are within the pop-up space at 1-2 Pier Street.

Do I need to print my ticket(s)?

No need to print tickets. If you have booked in advance your e-tickets will be sent to your phone or device digitally and a member of our team will scan it upon your arrival. If you want to purchase tickets on-site on either day of the festival, this can be done at our box office tent at the top of the steps at Stage@TheDock.

I’ve never been to see a rehearsed reading before, what can I expect?

We have created a separate guide to what to expect, which covers where both venues are, their layout, how tickets are managed, accessibility and audience experience.

Fresh Ink Co-Founder and Producer: Middle Child. Fresh Ink Co-Founder and Sponsor: Wykeland Group. Fresh Ink Supporters: J F Brignall Charitable Trust. Hull and East Riding Charitable Trust. I Am Fund. Two Ridings Community Foundation. The Warren Youth Project. Hull Truck Theatre. Garrick Charitable Trust.