Fresh Ink National Mentoring Program

Australia’s most respected professional development programs for emerging writers.

Our celebrated Fresh Ink National Mentoring Program for emerging writers runs annually from April–December in selected states across Australia.  The initiative has been running for 12 years in varying forms and engages industry professionals to mentor our young writers. To date the program has supported 92 playwrights in Melbourne, Geelong, Adelaide, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth and Sydney.

In 2020 there will be four young playwrights (aged 18-26) from each participating state. Throughout the year they will produce two short works as well as attend monthly meetings with their mentor to hone their skills and build their writing community.

Our program in Perth is co-presented with Barking Gecko Theatre Company (WA) and our program in Darwin co-presented with Brown’s Mart (NT). We couldn’t run Fresh Ink without the support of the Copyright Agency


2020 Places & Mentors

Perth, WA



Sydney, NSW



co-presented with BROWN’S MART


2020 Program

Throughout the program participants:

  • Attend a pre-arranged workshop session once a month with their mentor for 6 hours
  • Work with professional directors and guests to widen networks and build skills
  • Deliver a 15-minute play for 3 characters in July that will be rehearsed and performed by professional actors for an invited audience.
  • Deliver a 30 minute play for 4 characters in November that will be rehearsed and performed by professional actors for an invited audience.

Participants Receive:

  • Mentoring across the year by an industry professional
  • The opportunity to work with professional actors and directors
  • Opportunities to showcase their work to invited audiences.

To be eligible participants will need to:

  • Be aged 18-26
  • Have some experience in the past with playwriting
  • Be available to meet the time commitments (briefly outlined above) between April and November 2019.
  • Please note that there is a $400 participation fee for this program. ATYP offers scholarship places for those who could not participate otherwise, please get in touch for a scholarship application form.
APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED for the 2020 Fresh Ink National Mentoring program. 

SYDNEY and PERTH: applications closed

DARWIN: applications closed

Participant & Mentor biographies from past years


  • Sally Alrich-Smythe

    Sally Alrich-Smythe graduated from The National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) with a Diploma of Musical Theatre in 2016. In 2018, Sally completed her Master of Fine Arts (Writing for Performance) at NIDA. Her debut play ‘Homesick’ will be staged at The Old 505 in Newtown in 2019. Outside of performing and writing, Sally is the director of The Prop, an independent website that responds to theatre in Sydney, and a podcast ‘Prop: On Playwrights’, which will be released May 2019.

    As a performer, Sally is currently performing at the Sydney Opera House in ‘Chamber Pot Opera’ (Bontom Productions). Sally had the pleasure of playing ‘Belinda’ in the world premiere of Chamber Pot Opera (Bontom). In 2017, she toured with Chamber Pot Opera to the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Sydney’s return season, and finally to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Scotland (Bontom). In 2018, Sally travelled to Los Angelis to perform in an industry showcase for ‘C’mon: The Lleyton Hewitt Musical’, and to Saint Petersburg, Russia, for another season of Chamber Pot Opera. In January this year, Sally performed in “The Violent Years: 1956” at The Perth Fringe Festival (Blue Room).

    Additional credits include roles with New Musicals Australia Screenshot Presentations, and as chorus in Phantom of the Opera (Packemin, 2015). Sally loves to be a part of story-telling in whatever capacity she can and is particularly invested in showing new work.

  • Iley Jones

    As a young, passionate and curious writer, Iley has driven herself to learn more about the craft of writing and the different ways in which to tell a story. Starting at a young age in front of patient grandparents, she began entertaining others with wild retellings of children’s classics. Mostly  involving murder.

    In 2014, she graduated from the Australian Academy of Dramatic Arts with a Bachelor of Performance. From her debut play Life’s Contract’s at the Sydney Fringe Festival, to her award winning short film Dead not Dying, Iley enjoys finding new stories and the natural ways in which to tell them. Her new play Two Quarters Full will be premiering later this year, another take on characters and themes of family.

    Last year Iley was accepted in ATYP’S National Studio in Bundanon. Learning, working, and laughing with amazing mentors and colleagues alike was an incredible learning experience that positively impacted on her writing. Throughout the program she developed her skills creatively and technically in regards to story writing, and in patting wombats.

    Iley strives to work closely with actors, directors and writers alike, in finding the best way of exploring and telling a story. Even if that story is a wild new rendition of a children’s classic. Mostly involving murder.


    Michael Louis Kennedy is a writer and journalist from Sydney, Australia. He is a great lover of dark comedy, horror, and the beauty of Australian rural and urban landscapes. His work often explores themes of queerness, migration, neoliberalism, and the intersection of politics and ego. His writing has been published in Voiceworks, Going Down Swinging, The Brag, Homer Online, & Publication, Transportation Press, and Baby Teeth Journal. His introduction to writing performance came in the form of multiple university revues. Subsequently he has written and produced a number of works for stage Bushfire, a black comedy premiering to a sold out run on the 2015 Sydney Fringe, later remounted for a staged reading by the acclaimed Siren Theatre Company as part of the Seymour Centre’s Playlist for Mardi Gras 2018; as well as Keep Your Feet, which appeared in the Old 505’s Rapid Reads Festival. He has also previously lived and worked in Scotland, during which time he was a regular performer and writer for events including Glasgow’s Only Skin and Queer Theory cabarets, as well as Edinburgh’s Inky Fingers. He originally studied at the University of Technology, Sydney, graduating with a combined Bachelor of Laws / Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).

    Jasper is a Sydney-based Theatre-maker. After completing his Advanced Diploma of Acting from the Academy of Film, Theatre & Television (AFTT), he looked to playwriting as a side interest. In 2017, his first short play, Arthur & Marilyn, won the Festival Director’s Pick and Best Script award at the Short + Sweet Sydney Festival, winning both awards again at Short + Sweet Hollywood later that year. In 2018, Jasper wrote and produced a full-length version of Arthur & Marilyn, which played at the Blood Moon Theatre, before taking part in ATYP’s National Studio, where he wrote The Iceberg, featured in ATYP’s Intersection 2019: Arrival.



    Izzy McDonald is a 25 year old emerging writer, director, performer and Co-Artistic Director of the award winning independent theatre company; Rorschach Beast. Izzy graduated from the University of Western Australia with a degree in English and Cultural Studies in 2015, the same year she co-founded Rorschach Beast and directed the company’s premiere show Girl in the Wood. GITW won Fringe World’s Best Emerging Artist and the Melbourne Fringe Ready to Tour Award, allowing for an interstate tour to occur in 2016.That year she also participated in the Australian Theatre for Young People’s National Studio for young writers. Her piece Dive was performed in Sydney and published by Currency Press.

    The following year she wrote, produced and performed in Bus Boy which went on to win Fringe World’s coveted Martin Sims award, the Theatre award, the Best Emerging Artist award and went on to tour internationally to Brighton Fringe. Izzy has performed in shows at The Blue Room Theatre such as TANK (2016) and Tamagotchi Reset (2017) and was a co-devisor and performer in the award winning Let me finish (2018).


    Maddy Mullins is an emerging theatre maker and playwright. She completed Curtin’s Theatre Arts course and was heavily involved in their Hayman Theatre Company in a variety of roles, including performer, lighting designer, and stage manager, culminating in writing/ directing Red Rover, her first original show, in her final semester. Performance highlights include devising City (Joe Lui) and 12 Strings and the Scale of Things (Bec Bradley) and performing in Curtin’s Stage One production at the Blue Room, The Perilous Adventures of the Postman (Damon Lockwood). Recently, she has designed lighting for Mungbean (Beyond the Yard) at the Denmark Arts Festival and Silence My Ladyhead (FUGUE) as a part of Fringeworld 2019. She is currently a part of WAYCTO’s ensemble, and she is very excited to be a part of Fresh Ink and tell some new stories this year.

    Jess Nyanda Moyle is an emerging theatre maker and musician based in Perth. Mid-2018 she graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, and is currently working as an associate artist for emerging company Squid Vicious. She is both excited and terrified to be showcasing her playwrighting chops for the first time with Cephalopod as part of the 2019 Blue Room Season, and the work she’ll create through the good folks at AYTP.

    Recent performance credits include two PAWA Nominated shows Let Me Finish (Charlotte Otton) and godeatgod (Squid Vicious), as well as Medusa (Bow & Dagger/Renegade Production Company), Metis (a work-in-progress by The Nest Ensemble) and the Subiaco Arts remount of Tissue (Static Drive Co.) She enjoys having a ‘good hard go’ at various non- performative theatre roles; having assistant directed Poorly Drawn Shark (Squid Vicious), composed music and sound designed for Tunes from the Roadside and A Region Where Nobody Goes (Lindstedt & Davies) respectively, as well as dramaturging for 52 Hertz (Beyond the Yard). When she’s not making theatre, she is usually composing music for her solo project nyanda j. and folk-duo Foetus & Fossil, or writing lyrics for indie groups META IV and Effy’s Trip. And when she’s not being creative she makes coffee, watches footy and dreams of one day being an artist as prolific as a super mega hybrid of PJ Harvey and Paul Kelly (hey, a girl can dream).


    Zachary Sheridan is a performance maker currently practicing in Perth, Western Australia. A graduate of WAAPA’s Bachelor of Performing Arts, Zach is the writer of Head Case (shortlisted for 2017 New Plot Award); The Cockburn Incident (winner of the 2018 Adelaide Fringe Tour Ready Award); Cookies & Cream; and GRACE (winner of a 2019 Fringe World Weekly Theatre Award). Zach also adapted Franz Kafka’s The Trial for puppetry.

    Zach is currently working on a multiplatform project exploring the Anthropocene, which will culminate in the work I Feel Fine to be presented in October, 2019, at The Blue Room Theatre. Other credits include: The Last Great Hunt’s Improvement Club (Assistant Director) and Stay With Us (Artist Collaborator), as well as WAAPA works Solo Stage: Moments of Being and The Secret Project: Dispatch. Zach was the recipient of the inaugural Belinda Dunbar prize, awarded to top student of the graduating Performance Making major.