Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Junior Commentators

August 12th, 2016

commentator_apprenctices

On Saturday a team of apprentice commentators from the Lyng Media Club take to the streets of West Bromwich as part of the Sandwell Arts Festival. A team of twelve young people aged between 5 and 12 will be on the streets between 12:00 – 15:00 reporting on all the goings on in the town centre during festival time.
Continue reading “Junior Commentators” »

Party planner wanted!

July 21st, 2016

partyplanner

Well it turns out that inadvertently Stan’s Cafe has become ancient and in order to celebrate being ancient but not dead we thought we aught to throw a party, a proper party, the kind of party people leave saying “now that was a party”, the kind of party that rings down the generations.

One idea we have for making the party special is to make a new studio theatre show especially to premiere AT the party. Obviously organizing a party and making a new show for it is a logistical challenge, plus we have a fair amount of other stuff happening between now and then so we need some help, some PAID help, the kind of paid help that could organize the backside off a donkey.

Are you or do you know that person? The donkey backside organizing off, party planning, show production managing, VIP invite wrangling übermensch (person of supreme integrity and honour)? If so get in touch, we are hiring.

The full job description with news of how to apply is downloadable here

Love and Loss at BE Festival

June 24th, 2016

teaser – Vacuum from Philippe Saire on Vimeo.

What a piquancy of timing. BE Festival on 23rd June 2016. Theatre shows from Spain, Switzerland, UK and Italy. Nothing more can be done. The future is unknown. Us, swilling together in this heterotoic space, acting out in microcosm the broader drama. Continue reading “Love and Loss at BE Festival” »

Mystery and Morality

June 21st, 2016

PLS-web

Last year we toured one of our most popular shows The Cardinals to North America. As the show hit Toronto I was bowled over by a talk given by Dr. Matt Sergi. Matt is an expert in Mediaeval English Drama and he was talking about our show in the context of the religious mystery plays staged on the streets of York about five hundred years ago. So illuminating was the talk that we asked him to convert the talk into an essay, which he did.

When we got onto the usual awkward issue of payment and it descended into a familiar row, us trying to force money onto him and him refusing to take it. Once we’d patched things up it transpired that Matt’s theatre company PLS was planning to bring two of its shows to the UK, so we’ve invited them to come and perform @ A E Harris as our guests and we’re delighted that they’ve accepted.

So, we are proud to announce a mini-season of performances no less:

Mystery and Morality.

Stan’s Cafe, Birmingham, UK
The Cardinals c2011 7pm, 8th July. Admission £5 on the door (cash only) or tickets online via our shop.
Three Cardinals perform the history of the world, without words in their miniature puppet theatre mostly aided by their young female mulim stage manager.

SPECIAL GUESTS
PLS, Toronto, Canada
PLS specialise in giving audiences uproarious glimpse into the dynamic, scatological, often very funny world of English theatre as it was more than six hundred years ago. They translate original scripts into contemporary English and combine these with real medieval music, costume design and performance practices to show us hints of a culture that was, in some ways more liberated than our current one.

In a subversion of the original show’s anti-feminist themes both shows are performed by six non-male actors.

Both shows are family friendly, free of charge, relaxed performance.

Mankind c1464
Performed in the Courtyard @ A E Harris, 7:30pm 16th July
Mankind is very distractable and so Mercy and Mischief are striving for his attention, while a cheerful demon who creates human error is never far from the action. After this performance there will be a modest party to welcome PLS to Birmingham – everyone is welcome.

The Pride of Life c1300s
Performed in the Theatre @ A E Harris 7:30pm 17th July
The bombastic King Life believes he will live for ever despite the Queen’s urgent warnings that a rival King Death has recently landed in their realm.
Since only the first half of the original manuscript has been found the play’s inevitable mortal conclusion will be improvised each evening drawing on audience input.

Thanks to the generous support of Connaught Fund’s New Researcher Award and in line with Mediaeval practice no charge will be made for admission to either performance, but donations will be accepted.

Click here for directions to @ A E Harris 110, Northwood St. B3 1SZ

Please help us promote Mystery and Morality to others either by pointing them to this post or by printing off this A4 flier/poster and sticking it up somewhere.

Coming Up

June 6th, 2016

furious folly

Hold onto your hats everyone, there’s so much to see and do.

The Lunar Festival has come and gone darn it. Craig says it was great, so let’s not miss out on any of the other good stuff.

Alexander Zeldin, ‘new’ Associate Director at The REP has a devised show Beyond Caring opening in the venue’s Paint Shop opening on Wednesday, it arrives with great notices from elsewhere.

On Sunday BCMG’s Remembering The Future is the de facto farewell concert for Stephen and Jackie Newbould, it features four new works and has been in my diary for a good while now.

The weekend after Warwick Arts Centre host Doing Nothing Is Not An Option, a climate change and the arts conference which features presentations, discussions (and probably arguments) alongside three provocative shows.

This year’s BE Festival is nearly upon us (21 – 24 June).

LIFT is already upon London.

Mark Anderson, one of our all time favourite collaborators, is around the country with his spectacular show Furious Folly, which we are desperate to see. The brilliant news is that the show is coming to Sutton Park, it’s free but you have to book, so please do book, but only book on 9 not 8 July as on 8 July we have a one-off performance of The Cardinals @ A E Harris as they limber up to go to Basel in September (this may seem a little premature but a section of the show is being presented as part of On The Edge festival of children’s theatre that runs 2 – 9 July in Birmingham.

The Following weekend we have special guests @ A E Harris. PLS are with us all the way from Toronto, with two medieval morality plays. Mankind will be performed in our courtyard on 16 and The Pride of Life in our theatre space on 17. We will have a party after one of these performances but we’re not telling you which, so you’d better commit to coming to both (there is no charge, just donations). More on this later.

Birmingham Fest kicks off on 15 July and @ A E Harris we are pleased to be hosting Gus Watcham (19 July), Lucky Dog who are returning to the venue on 24 July after last year’s triumph; Reactor Factory on 29 July and Blancmontage are in on 31 July.

New Leaders

May 25th, 2016

newleaders

It was exciting to learn that Debbie Kermode has been appointed as mac birmingham’s new Artistic Director / CEO taking over from Dorothy Wilson. Continue reading “New Leaders” »

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

equipment

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.


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