Welcome to Stan's Cafe

Why Buy Now?

June 11th, 2018

Tickets are on sale for our new show The Capital that opens in October and although I love the purity of turning up on the night of the performance handing over folding money in exchange for a ticket and walking into the show, here I expound five brief arguments as to why this is a terrible idea. Continue reading “Why Buy Now?” »

We Can Remember It For You Wholesale

June 3rd, 2018

Birmingham Wholesale Market occupies a huge site, 28 acres of prime real estate a mere apple’s throw from New Street Station. It seemed inevitable that redevelopment and the commercial imperative would catch up with the vast 1970s concrete warehouses and that time has finally arrived; the traders have moved out, the bulldozers are on the horizon and squeezed in between, to conduct the last rites, are Friction Arts with their performance event Everything Must Go. Continue reading “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” »

Kenesh Dramaturge

June 1st, 2018

Last Thursday I was holed up in the Stan’s Cafe kitchen with Keisha Grant, Artistic Director of Keneish Dance, looking at a video documenting an early draft of their new show Hi I’m…. For this piece Keisha is interested in including some narrative elements and thought it may be helpful to talk about this with someone who devises theatre shows. Continue reading “Kenesh Dramaturge” »

Casting

May 24th, 2018

You’ve heard it here before any other source, we’ve just opened casting for our brand new studio theatre show THE CAPITAL. As usual we are devising the show between us all, so we’re looking for actors who have good experience of working in this way. We’re seeking performers who are skilled at visual story telling as the show will be wordless. This doesn’t mean years of mime training, but it does mean knowing how audiences read images and how as an actor you make images. The show is about life in a modern diverse city, so we are encouraging applicants from all sectors of society. All the details are in a PDF document here.

Please spread the word.

Catalogue d’Emoji

May 21st, 2018

Should you be planning on drawing up a list called “The most playful, iconoclastic and talented artists currently working in Birmingham” we can help you out with a name… Michael Wolters.

“But surely” you protest “Dr. Wolters is Deputy Head of Composition at the Royal Birmingham Conservertoire and therefore, inevitably, a boring deadbeat”. “Wrong!” we cry “That shows how much you know about these things – nothing!” Continue reading “Catalogue d’Emoji” »

Inspired Illustration

May 21st, 2018

Thursday evening started five weeks ago, maybe two months ago. Thursday evening started when I sent a speculative message to our friend/collaborator Mr. Courage. It started when I first thought that publishing all Stan’s Cafe’s old scripts would be a fun thing to do, but only if they appeared in a set of 22 very slim volumes.

“[Gareth] If you were teaching design at university would it be an interesting / useful / mutually beneficial / noteworthy undertaking for Stan’s Cafe to ‘commission’ you and your students to design the set”

On Thursday evening @ A E Harris over forty first year illustration students from Birmingham City University exhibited their response to our front cover design challenge. Each book in the series was allocated to two students who were furnished with scripts, essays and notes on influences from music, film, the visual arts, history and science. They had five weeks to explore, experiment and deliver a cover inspired the something in that content. The results were spectacular. Continue reading “Inspired Illustration” »

No longer live from the national theatre

May 13th, 2018


Photo by Mark Barnett

On Friday I suffered a mild, but nevertheless unexpected attack of ‘post-show blues’. The affliction is widely acknowledged; after a period working intensely with a group of people on show the euphoria of the last night’s performance is often followed by aching induced by the show’s sudden absence and a sense of bereavement brought on by no longer being part of that closely bonded team.

I thought I had developed a cast-iron immunity as the stress of overlapping projects inoculates against the absence and full time colleagues and a loving family mask bereavement. However, travelling back from Leicester following the third and final performance of Live From The National Theatre I couldn’t quash a sense of the blues mixed with a certain melancholic satisfaction of a challenging mission accomplished. Continue reading “No longer live from the national theatre” »

De Montfort University Show

May 7th, 2018


Trailer made by final year students at De Montfort University.

We are down to the knuckle chewing last few days before Live From The National Theatre opens. This is our collaboration with final year students at De Montfort University in Leicester. There was a phase when we regularly made shows with university students but this is my first effort for a decade and with Craig, Lucy and Amy off to Dartington to help students at Plymouth University make their own shows it feels an apt moment to talk about making shows with students. Continue reading “De Montfort University Show” »

Creative Learning Recruitment: Graphic Designer/Illustrator

May 4th, 2018

billesley primary school

We are seeking to recruit a Graphic Designer/Illustrator to work with us and students in Billesley Primary School, south Birmingham creating a book entitled ‘What Is A School?’

Through Summer and Autumn terms 2018 we are working on a whole school project called “What Is A School?” Each year group is exploring philosophical questions about what schools do, how education has changed, the range of different schools today and what education and schooling might look like in the future. The project culminates in the production of a non-fiction book summarizing its findings, authored by the pupils and intended to be read in other primary schools.

The role of the Graphic Designer / Illustrator is to take charge of the look of the book and see it through the printing process. This will also involve working with the children so that they gain an insight into the roles and skills of a designer.

To find our more about this role please download the information sheet HERE.

To apply please send a CV, links to examples of your work and a cover letter explaining your interest in, and suitability for this role to Craig Stephens, Associate Director, Stan’s Cafe craig@stanscafe.co.uk

Please also complete and send the equal opportunities monitoring form available HERE on our website.

The closing date for applications is Thursday May 17th, 6pm. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to attend an interview in Birmingham on Friday 25th May.

You can discover more about the history and range of our Creative Learning work by visiting the Education and Training section of our website HERE

We look forward to hearing from you.

Book Royalties

April 20th, 2018

The publishers Bloomsbury have a series of tabs at the top of their website to steer visitors towards the category of book they are searching for: Fiction, Non-fiction, Academic, Children’s and Harry Potter. What an unbelievable cash cow that young wizard must be for everyone involved!

We’ve just received the first royalty cheque from our very own cash gerbil Devising Theatre With Stan’s Cafe. It may not have been a big cheque, but it was a good feeling to know the book is out there being bought and (hopefully) read.

Given that we are currently being undercut by our own publishers and assuming that for such books sales tail off rather than snowball, we have perhaps had the best of things financially; nevertheless we will continue to reap practical benefits as those eager students who regularly email us asking ‘how do you get your ideas?’ or ‘how do you devise your shows?’ can now be pointed to the book rather than having to be written more bespoke answers and pointed towards our magical Harry Potter Helpful Things tab.


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