Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Made Up Trailer

April 28th, 2016

Made Up Trailer from Stans Cafe on Vimeo.

Video by: Oliver Clark

Coming to a theatre near you (if you live in the West Midlands or North East of England).

Happy Anniversary

April 28th, 2016

Compress Ma Pantalon – WebsterWest Ink from Stans Cafe on Vimeo.

Shakespeare’s 400 years gone (23 April), the Queen is 90 years alive (21 April), Roisin is 1 year with us (20 April) and Nina West…

Looking to promote Made Up The REP asked if this was our first all female cast, the reply was simple – “no but it is our first in 20 years”. That show was Ocean of Storms and Ocean of Storms as Nina West reminded me recently, was the first Stan show for which she created the music, so Happy Anniversary to her. Continue reading “Happy Anniversary” »

Will this work?

April 8th, 2016

The last post on this blog mentioned a familiar ‘stationary moment’ in the devising process. Today we reached another familiar landmark, the ‘Will this work?’ question. Often our shows are predicated on a fundamental device or premise that in theory should work but has yet to be proven. Made Up is one of those shows. In theory we watch make up being applied, the two people involved chat to each other, drama ensues and there is some satisfying resonance between the make up and the drama: bingo. Having spent the last four days working up script and getting quietly confident with that, today was the first day devoted to the make up side of the show. Watching Andy teach Alexis how to transform the youthful Emily into an aged Emily I was aware that I’d been engrossed for an hour. So the two things certainly work separately. The landmark question has arrived about combining the elements “will this work?” Of course the answer is “yes”. Unfortunately the follow up question is more difficult to answer: “how?”

That time again

April 6th, 2016


I like to think that we take many different approaches to making theatre shows, but ultimately most of them seem to come to a point were we require scissors, post-it notes, a stapler and hole punch. Three days into week two of rehearsals for Made Up that time has come. I’ve been writing sections of text, some speculative, some to order and now we are getting them in an order. There are big gaps still, but it is starting to feel coherent. The real excitement starts on Friday when Andy Whiteoak starts his practical make up lessons.

Apply for RSC / Stan’s Cafe Commission

April 4th, 2016


Do you, or does anyone you know, fancy making a show for the Royal Shakespeare Company (and us)? We are proud to announce four small but rather elegant commissioning opportunities for the miniature Slot Together Stage we made with Billesley Primary school and Yinka Danmole last year.

This stage is due to spend its second summer on the terrace outside the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon and this year we are teaming up with the RSC to challenging theatre makers to create a series of shows for it.

The shows are to be called: Miranda’s Beach, Ariel on the Cliff, Caliban in the Rock Pool, Prospero and the Seaweed. There is a modest fee and a set of rules each production must adhere to. The application process is very easy and everything is fully explained here on the RSC website.

We very much hope you, or someone you know, applies.

Enjoy your evening.

March 24th, 2016


Man down! Check you’re not going to slip on pools of vomit or urine. Approach, slap and shout. No response. Call for help “get an ambulance”. Ear to mouth and nose, look at hand on sternum, ten secs max, no breath. Hand on head and chin, hyper extend neck open mouth, look all around inside, all clear. Where the ribs meet, three fingers up, heal of hand, fingers interlocked, thirty compressions, two each second, one third body depth down, down, go! If you break their ribs so what, they’re about to die. Keep the hyper extension, squeeze nostrils closed, seal your mouth over theirs and blow deep and hard one second, once more, then back for another thirty compressions and on and on. If they vomit turn their head to the side, scoop it out. “Your job is to keep them alive for nine minutes”.

Attending a show @ A E Harris? Don’t worry you’re in safe hands, we’ve had the training. Enjoy your evening.

If I stay there will be trouble, if I go…

March 12th, 2016


So the CBI guy, speaking in a personal capacity said “out” and had was kicked out.

The Bank of England guy said “out” could cause trouble and that caused him trouble.

The Queen is being interpreted as saying “out” but that was years ago before anyone was asking so she can’t have been answering and now she’d say nothing.

So where does Stan stand? Continue reading “If I stay there will be trouble, if I go…” »

CETT Puppets

March 11th, 2016


What greater privilege can there be that helping to teach the teachers?

On Wednesday I teamed up with Jim “Art Games” Morris for our final engagement with this year’s cohort of trainees from Central England Teacher Training. Their course started back in early September with A City Adventure and we met up again in November to put some creative thinking in around their placements in school. Continue reading “CETT Puppets” »

Made Up – Glad to be Grey

March 10th, 2016

This image belongs to the BBC (sorry your embedding code didn’t work).

The premise of our new (yet to be made) show is that a young female film star is on set, in a trailer with an older female make up artist. So it was good timing that BBC Radio 4 broadcast Glad to be Grey, a documentary in which historian Mary Beard reflects on having grey hair. It’s not-edge-of-your-seat listening but it’s more material to reflect on.

Funded PhD opportunity

March 9th, 2016


Good news!

The Economics and Social Research Council Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Warwick have agreed to fund a PhD studentship to investigate The Potential of the Arts in Contemporary Education. This studentship will be held between the Departments of Sociology and Theatre and Performance Studies. It will included an extended period ‘embedded in Stan’s Cafe’ as we charge about doing our Creative Learning work in schools around Birmingham. There will be lots of support from the university. The ESRC funding means that the fees are paid plus there is a maintenance stipend (terms and conditions apply – as they say).

I don’t know how many of these opportunities there are out there but if you know anyone with a serious interest in how the arts can impact on contemporary education, who wants to get their hands dirty and check out what’s actually going on and what could be possible then please point them in the direction of the website that carries all the details. The application deadline is 29th April. We are very excited at the possibility of helping someone out as they grapple with this challenge, it should be a lot of fun.

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