Across three Sundays in April, May and June, Canterbury audiences will have the chance to contribute to a trio of Kiwi plays in rehearsed reading series, Fresh Ink.

Fresh Ink allows playwrights to undergo a three-day workshop with the help of The Court Theatre, before presenting their efforts at a public rehearsed reading. Here, audiences get to see – and shape – some very fresh, local theatre.

“What’s special about Fresh Ink is that it allows the audience to communicate directly to the playwright while that writer is in the room,” says The Court’s Literary Manager and organiser of Fresh Ink, Roanna Dalziel.

Fresh Ink is an unusual and exciting experience. For just $10, attendees can witness some exhilarating new theatre, knowing that their reactions – whether it be laughter, tears or gasps – will shape the final version of the script.

Previous Fresh Ink readings include theatrical hits That Bloody Woman; MAMIL; and last year’s production of Astroman, now playing at the Auckland Theatre Company. 

The 2019 series starts with Aroha Awarau’s Luncheon on the 14th April.

Directed by Holly Chappell-Eason, glitzy comedy Luncheon follows five women nominated for the 1958 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The nominees catch up for a ‘cordial’ luncheon and sparks soon fly…

“It’s not about Kiwis per se, but it has strong relevance to a New Zealand audience. Aroha is particularly interested in what it feels like to be a minority in the majority culture, because one of the nominees was the first Japanese actress to be nominated.”

Scholars, written by Tanya Muagututi’a and directed by Nathaniel Lees, is a little closer to home. This epic play follows three generations of a Samoan family as young Tavita emigrates to New Zealand.

“We’ve chosen Scholars for two reasons. The play has huge potential, in terms of its historical relevance and its showing of cross-cultural friendship, and Tanya is just an incredible theatre practitioner. It’s an absolute honour to bring her into the room and be working with her.”

Finally, in May, Gary Henderson’s new work, The Breath of Silence, will take the stage, directed by Simon Bennett.  

Henderson, known for his plays Home Land and Skin Tight, has written a story of connections across time periods in this intriguing and twisting drama.

“What I love about The Breath of Silence is that what happens between the dialogue is the most important thing. Things are at stake and tensions rise, but the pace, pausing and gentleness leading up to that is just fantastic,” Dalziel says.

Fresh Ink offers a chance for theatre lovers to step further into the world of playwrighting and gives new audience members an accessible opportunity to attend the theatre.

“What we’ve done this year is brought people together with themes that resonate at this particular moment in time. So, come, have a drink, sit and watch a reading and enjoy yourselves.”

Fresh Ink runs across three Sundays in April, May and June, starting with Luncheon on the 14th April; Scholars on 19th May and The Breath of Silence on 30 June. All tickets are just $10 and can be booked here.