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Building Resilience

September 13th, 2017

Nina glanced at the file under my arm “Building Resilience” and then looked at me with pity in her eyes, assuming I was undergoing that familiar mid-life crisis in which artists retreat from a life of creating ephemeral whimsy and retrain as structural engineers. Untrue. I was at Piccadilly Station retreating from two days thinking how we can build the resilience of Stan’s Cafe to insure that if the roof falls in the roof won’t fall in. Essentially the challenge put to us whether we could ensure that if one of our five main sources of income dried up could we ensure we wouldn’t have to turn the lights out and perform theatre in the dark? Continue reading “Building Resilience” »

Open Market

September 8th, 2017

On Saturday 23rd, as part of Birmingham’s Weekender event The Commentators are streaming live radio commentary from the Bull Ring Open Market. I was very excited about this opportunity until I realised that a family commitment 50 years in the making means I have to relinquish my seat, lip mic and sheepskin coat to Graeme, my daughter is overcome with relief. Continue reading “Open Market” »

Live Folk

September 2nd, 2017

For the first time The Commentators are broadcasting live from Moseley Folk festival. Listen live from the comfort of wherever you are now simply by clicking appropriately below (11:00 – 18:00 Saturday and Sunday).

Moving home

August 31st, 2017

On Tuesday the Birmingham Post made fully public the news that our landlords A E Harris & Co. Ltd. have sold their site for redevelopment, they will be moving to new premise to continue their business and we will have to do the same. Continue reading “Moving home” »

New brush

August 17th, 2017

Real live post with a hand written address is always exciting and when the envelope is colourful, cushioned and from Sri Lanka its arrival is a major event. I couldn’t imagine what could be inside or why it may be addressed to me. Then, as the thin bristled hand brush dropped out I recalled a conversation I’d had a few weeks ago in Mulheim and it all made sense. Continue reading “New brush” »

‘Scratch’ and works-in-progress
are a blight on theatre.

July 12th, 2017

In early May we spent a week working on a new show called The Capital which is planned to open in 2018. It has a big cast and ambitious set, so it’s going to be expensive. This means it seemed sensible to check the ideas are going to work.

We need some people to commission the show, so we wanted these ‘some people’ to see it in the hope they would be inspired to invest. So, at the end of the week, we performed some things to an invited audience. I think this may officially have been classified a ‘work in progress showing’ which unfortunately may make me a massive hypocrite. Why? because I have just written a whole essay explaining why such things are a blight on the world theatre.

You can read the full essay here, gather your thoughts and then tell me why I’m wrong (or not). I spent a bit of time on it so please do read it and decide which side of the fence you’re on.

Dream like

July 9th, 2017


Photo credit: Graeme Braidwood

The course of true love never did run smooth and neither did doing a Shakespeare play with 240 twelve and thirteen year olds, however last week was a lot less tempestuous than it could have been. Continue reading “Dream like” »

Stupid and disappointed

June 30th, 2017

First it is important you know that I was very tired. It was late at night and I’d just got back from a weekend trip to Germany with Of All The People In All The World when, scrolling though the BBC’s online Glastonbury coverage, an image of Nadia Rose intrigued us enough to eventually persuade our tablet to play her set. Continue reading “Stupid and disappointed” »

Shakespeare Recipe

June 28th, 2017

Here’s the recipe.

Take William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a filleting knife. Cut away any material that can be possibly regarded as fat, leaving a lean narrative, anything remotely repetitive should be cut out and thrown away, retain a hint of poetry for the purposes of flavour. Continue reading “Shakespeare Recipe” »

Beginnings and Endings

June 26th, 2017

At the beginning of the year a small group of Year 6 children from Billesley Primary School joined us at our base in AE Harris to begin work on an online choose your own adventure story. We used the journey from their school to the Jewellery Quarter as inspiration for possible starting points, settings and characters for their stories. As I walked with them I realised that this was their last year in primary school and that they were one of the first groups of children we had worked with in our now five year long partnership with Billesley Primary.

I first met them when they were in Year Two and aged 6. Together we made a comic book version of Treasure Island and looking back at the pictures from that project you can see their personalities shining through. The following year they worked with us on a Weather Project documenting the daily conditions, writing poetry and creating costumes for a meteorological themed performance in the school hall. In Year Four we explored Ancient China with them. Last summer when they were in Year 5 we made Superfast Shakespeare, a quick fire rendering of five Shakespeare Plays performed outdoors in their playground and on the terrace of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford.

 
Now they are in Year 6 and a group of ten of these now 11 year olds have just finished creating The Amazing Adventures Of You. They wrote stories and learnt coding to create a hypertext adventure in which you, the reader can choose which path you want to choose through the story.

We wish these children and the rest of Year 6 at Billesley the very best for their future adventures and thank them for their work with us over the years.

 
Please read and enjoy the amazing adventure they have created for you HERE

Craig


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