Welcome to Stan's Cafe

New office and new Fierce Festival

October 9th, 2019

I know, that’s a cool urban view isn’t it. Well, it’s a view from our new office. Those with a good knowledge of Birmingham’s City Centre can probably get a fix on its location from Selfridges on the right, Carrs Lane Church to its left and Digbeth’s railway line to the left. To learn more about what’s going on read on… Continue reading “New office and new Fierce Festival” »

Mutually Exclusive Worlds?

September 22nd, 2019

On Friday I met with a PhD student from Japan who has been drawn to Britain to study the plays of Simon Stephens. Prior to arriving in this country her principle connection with British theatre had been through streamed performances such as NT Live but, eager to stretch her knowledge and experience theatre beyond the London stage, she has chosen to study in Birmingham and travel around the country. From these explorations she has developed an informal thesis which she wanted to test out on me. It seems to her that in Britain there is a theatre world in which playwrights write plays that are then staged under the direction of directors and that there is another world in which plays are devised altogether more collectively and that these worlds have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Continue reading “Mutually Exclusive Worlds?” »

The Commentators live from MoFo

August 31st, 2019

The Commentators on Mixlr

It’s that time of year again – the cricket season is nearly over, the football season is well underway, suitcases are being unpacked, school bags are being repacked, leaves are beginning to turn, the nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the evening air and from all over the world musicians and artists gather in a park in the heart of Birmingham to perform at the Moseley Folk and Arts Festival. The festival know that not everyone can attend in person and so again this year have hired the services of The Commentators who will be broadcasting live on Saturday and Sunday to bring you all the sights, sounds and picnic smells from the heart of the festival site.

It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to the summer…listen on the player above or click on the link to visit The Commentators mixlr page.

Heavy Activist Rice

August 18th, 2019

When staging Of All The People In All The World on foreign shores we always have at least a ton of rice on our rider. It’s not very rock-and-roll but when you’re building an installation that converts human population statistics into grains of rice it is necessary.

In truth we are starting to sound ever more like theatre’s answer to Celine Dion as we get ever more particular about the exact kind of rice we require. We use a grains-per-gram equation to help us ‘count’ large numbers and so, a few years ago, had to throw an hysterical strop when a venue supplied us with broken rice. Rice with a high proportion of broken grains is significantly cheaper than standard rice but we rely on a high proportion of whole grains to be confident in our counting strategy. Continue reading “Heavy Activist Rice” »

Recruiting a General Manager !

August 6th, 2019

We’re recruiting!

We’re looking for a General Manager to join our team at Stan’s Cafe. The General Manager is at the heart of the company, leading on finances and operations and managing projects on the ground. We’re looking for someone friendly, resourceful and keen to get stuck in.

You may not currently work in the theatre sector but will be passionate about supporting artists to create new work, and in developing and maintaining the business and organisational structures in order for that to happen.

Salary band: £28,000 – £32,000 per year.

Download the job description here, to find out more.
Applications close at midday on Tuesday 3 September.
First round interviews will be held on Monday 9 September.

To apply, please submit a CV, a cover letter (no longer than 2 sides) explaining why you are suitable for the role and the downloadable equal opportunities and data protection forms to admin@stanscafe.co.uk

If you would like to have an informal, confidential chat about the role please contact Roisin Caffrey, Executive Producer: roisin@stanscafe.co.uk

Thank You Alan James

July 16th, 2019

Last Friday we held our annual Summer Party in the courtyard of our HQ here in Birmingham. It was a pleasent, low key evening and later a mellow night, but my heart really wasn’t in it.

It’s now a little over three months since our friend Alan James died and two months since his funeral. The funeral was a terribly sad but wonderful occassion. A humanist celebrant offered consolation, Spiro and 9bach – the two bands Alan managed – both performed, the room was full of Alan’s friends, four people spoke and at the centre of things lay Alan in a wicker coffin topped with his hat.

Afterwards we gathered at The Swan, Stourport-on-Severn; different threads of Alan’s life meeting, sharing stories and food and music. It felt apt that even in his absence Alan was introducing people to each other, we had a lovely time.

Travelling home a reflected on how Stan’s Cafe could say our own proper thank you so someone who had given so much time and attention to the company. Our Summer Party seemed an apt occasion and as Alan had introduced us to so much great music over the years we could easily playlist the whole event with ‘his’ music. So we did and it was a great soundtrack but somehow still not enough. I’d thought that maybe, if the moment and audience were right, I’d share with the party the tribute to Alan I’d read at the funeral, but the moment wasn’t right until 1am in a corner with just two people listening. So I’m going to share this with you now.

Alan had an obituary in The Guardian and an article in Froots magazine both of which cover his amazing journey through the world of music. Part of my job was to add a Birmingham and Theatre dimension to the picture, so this is an attempt to say thank you on behalf of another whole great gang of us. It is also piece of writing I crafted for and about a dear friend as a means of saying thank you for everything. Please read it.

Othello 110 – 30

June 30th, 2019

We’re all familiar with unfamiliar Performer : Audience ratios now, but next week’s 110 : 30 must still raise eyebrows; an oligarch booking the Kirov Ballet for a modest birthday bash? No, half of Year 8 at Saltley Academy performing Othello to a class from Year 7.

You may recognise Saltley from its recent appearance on The Great British School Swap, this is the fourth edition of our insanely optimistic Shakespeare collaboration with Saltley Academy in which ever member Year 8 has to perform both at school and in Stratford-upon-Avon. In 2016 Lucy Nicholls made version of The Tempest which neatly put narrators on microphones mixing genuine Shakespeare with modern language whilst visual storytelling took place on the stage. The following year we were challenged to up the Shakespeare quotient, so A Midsummer Night’s Dream contained a tiny fraction of Shakespeare’s words but what words there were were all his. We added eyes to household objects to make a puppet show to avoid students having to act as if they were in love. Last year we were challenged to do it all without puppets, so we took on The Merchant of Venice with costumes instead of puppets and with contracted scripts all perfect bound to avoid the confetti, ticker-tape phenomena of previous years. Continue reading “Othello 110 – 30” »

Recruiting a Creative Learning Producer

May 24th, 2019

We’re on the hunt for a Creative Learning Producer to join our team at Stan’s Cafe. This is a new role for someone to take up the exciting challenge of developing and growing our Creative Learning work, with a view to increasing the number of schools and young people we collaborate with each year.

We’re looking for someone dynamic, enterprising and friendly who loves working in schools and is committed to promoting creativity as an integral part of our education system.

Download the job description here, to find out more. Applications close on Monday 10th June at 10am and interviews will be held on Monday 17th June for shortlisted candidates.

Please submit a CV, a cover letter (no longer than 2 sides) explaining why you are suitable for the role, and the equal opportunities and data protection forms to admin@stanscafe.co.uk

Dream Big Adelaide

May 21st, 2019

Theatre luvvies will tell you that theatre is special because it is made afresh every night for a new audience and that the unique combination of those people in that space together at that time… it’s about context… etcetera and so on and on. I’ve spun similar lines and they’re not wrong, but at the same time theirs is also the same script, performed by the same cast, on the same set, on a similar stage us here – you there – darkness and clap at the end.

Of All The People In All The World is only theatre if you want it to call it that but if it is theatre it is re-made more radically than most theatre each time we perform it. In this case it really is all about context.

This Performance Installation, if you want to call it that, comprises piles of rice representing human population statistics counted out one grain per person and placed on labelled sheets of paper. The combination of which statistics sit next to which generate stories and questions. When we arrive in a new venue we have the freedom to put whatever statistic we choose where ever we choose to put it (provided we have enough rice to represent the number involved). In this way the ‘script’ is waiting to be written afresh with each new performance in each new venue. Continue reading “Dream Big Adelaide” »

BYPY – live coverage of prestige award!

May 16th, 2019

commentators is on Mixlr

Overlooked for Champions League semis, the Championship Playoffs and the early season cricket, The Commentators have instead scooped a similarly prestitious gig, bringing you exclusive radio commenatry, live from tonight’s Birmingham Young Professional of the Year awards ceremony. They will open up with scenes from the ‘red carpet’ at 6pm and bring you all the action right through to (and including) the announcment of this year’s winner of this coverted award at half past ten. Click on the link above to receive your exclusive radio commentary direct to your device.


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