Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

What are the Odds?

November 21st, 2015


Today with the excellent Kate Green I was working with some young people in Birmingham planning a walking adventure in the City Centre on Tuesday. All was going well and as planned we moved on to the Risk Assessment section in which we ask the students to think through what the risks of the trip may be, if these are acceptable and how we mitigate against them. The first risk they thought of was ‘being blown up’. It may have been that they were playing a deadpan game of winding us up. I hope they were. If they were they were playing it very straight and consistent. We played along, to an extent; after all it is a risk.
Continue reading “What are the Odds?” »

Sports Report

November 5th, 2015

The Commentators Promo Video from Stans Cafe on Vimeo.

Can anyone remember the heady days of summer? The boozy folksy days of early September? No! Well to jog your memories here is a video shot at the Moseley Folk Festival starring your friends and ours The Commentators. Apparently they’re a bit short of work at the moment and so have commissioned a promotional feature to solicit something, anything… office Christmas Parties, Weddings, Ceremonial Openings, Swimming Galas, Mardi Gras, Traffic Reports, Car Boot Sales…

Manual Crossfade

October 28th, 2015


So many things are possible now! In our earliest shows I directed and ran the lights and sound. The lighting was fun, choose which of twelve channels of light to have up at what level on the A Fader, then prep the next cue on the B Fader and when the moment came pull paired sliders down to cross-fade between the two, then reset the A Fader for Cue Number 3. To the side for the lighting desk two cassette players would sit one on top of the other with blobs of white insulation tape marking the play and stop buttons. Continue reading “Manual Crossfade” »

Constance Re-creation

October 23rd, 2015

Photo: Graeme Braidwood

What an aching nostalgia it is to be reunited with The Cleansing of Constance Brown. We have memories and photos and videos but to see it coming alive in front of me again is breathtaking, a crushing reminder how inadequate those other forms are. The euphoria of seeing this show reanimating is given extra piquancy by the thought that this may be the last time that we will all be together; for of course the emotion of the show isn’t exclusively about the show, it is also about these people on this shared mission, bound in our joint endeavour, fused by the history of this thing we do when we are together. Continue reading “Constance Re-creation” »

We’re recruiting!

October 20th, 2015

Stan’s Cafe is looking for enthusiastic and committed individuals to join our Front of House casual staff team @AE Harris. To take responsibility for the welfare of the audience, opening and locking up the venue, running the bar during and after performances when required and assisting artists.

You need to be friendly and a good communicator, and an interest in theatre would be ideal. You will undertake full training at the venue, so no previous experience is necessary, but if you have previous bar experience it will come in handy. First aid training will also be helpful.

Shifts are primarily evenings between 6pm-11pm, or at weekends. £7.50 p/h


If you’re interested in joining our team, please email with a copy of your CV and covering letter.


Medieval Cousins

October 7th, 2015


Attentive readers of this blog may remember an entry about being in Toronto to catch up with The Cardinals on their North American Tour. I mentioned the excellent Dr. Matt Sergi and his inspirational pre-show talk about The Chester Cycle of passion plays Etc. Anyway, I couldn’t shake this talk out of my head so we’ve commissioned Matt to write something along the same lines for this website. He finished it about six weeks ago but I’ve only just found a moment to upload it. It’s fascinating I really hope you can find time to read it and pass on the link. Even if you’ve not seen The Cardinals I think it is gripping stuff.

Being In Time

October 6th, 2015


On Saturday at 06:30 I experienced Something Good outside Birmingham Cathedral; dawn happened. As Dan Jones’ composition for the cathedral choir swirled around the churchyard, the streetlights clicked off in small clusters and a felt the lightness that came from realising that when I had arrived it had been the night and now, possibly fifteen minutes later, it had become the day. Although I have more than a passing acquaintance with dawn I cannot recall the last time I experienced like this. Usually I am in my own world noting the presence of dawn with more or less pleasure, on Saturday I experienced being in time and it was a joyous feeling. Continue reading “Being In Time” »

Sizing Up Stratford

October 1st, 2015


On Tuesday and Wednesday Craig and I had the pleasure of exploring sunny Stratford-upon-Avon with Simon Ford. Our mission, to plot and scheme for a forthcoming edition of The Steps Series. This twentieth edition of the series is scheduled to open in January 2016 and despite saying we’d never do another outdoor edition using paint this one will be outdoors and us paint. To be honest the chance of telling the Charles Dickens’ life story through the streets of this beautiful town was too much to resist. Continue reading “Sizing Up Stratford” »

The Adventures of Alex

September 27th, 2015


It has taken a great deal of editing and debugging but finally we think that the world is ready to read about The Adventures of Alex.

Last year, in the summer term, Kerry Murdock and I spent a series of eight Fridays at Victoria Park Academy with their sixty Year 5 students. Together we worked on a project that combined coding with creative writing. Starting with the idea of ‘cliffhangers’ and inspired by Choose Your Own Adventure stories we plunged into writing a multi-voice multi-strand narrative. Continue reading “The Adventures of Alex” »

So much to see (and hear)

September 25th, 2015

Now the autumn rush is upon us, suddenly there is much potentially exiting stuff to see (and hear) in and around Birmingham. Birmingham Weekender is this weekend. The Stan’s Cafe contribution is a subtle input into one of the most subtle events in festival. Michael Wolters has written a Requiem to be performed in a disused retail unit and we have been called in to consider the presentation of this piece. Continue reading “So much to see (and hear)” »

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