Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Slot Together

Saturday, May 9th, 2015

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Proper Repertory Theatre, in which a mostly fixed group of actors take on a series of plays as a team in the same producing house for a season has pretty much died off in the UK. I believe the RSC still attempts to work in this way but it is an expensive way of approaching things and there are few that can attempt it. Clearly something similar continues with contemporary theatre companies which have a fairly stable set of actors. In these circumstances you look forward to seeing the same actors in fresh roles and settings, carrying with you memories of their previous performances. Unfortunately, because these companies tend to devise their own material and the actors tend to create that material you rarely see huge contrasts in these performances. One of the delicious side effect of repertory companies was to be able to watch someone who was The King last week relegated to be a Butler this week. Although the plays are different in repertory the ghosts of the actors previous roles still linger. Continue reading “Slot Together” »

Research Opportunity

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

academic-recruitAlong with our Partner Schools Network we are looking to engage a researcher who is interested in how schools are responding to the government requirement that schools promote British Values. We are about to do some work in schools with this as its focus and we’d like to have someone keep tabs on reflect on this activity from an independent perspective. You can download more details including how to apply here.

War or Peace?

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

NYC-getinAh it’s starting to feel like the olden days. The days when we made shows that sharply divided audiences (mostly for us) from critics (mostly against). Continue reading “War or Peace?” »

Access to Work

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

I’ve met Jenny Sealey a few times. She’s a powerhouse; funny, clever, passionate and a great artist. She is Artistic Director of Graeae Theatre Company and co-Directed the Paralympics opening ceremony for London 2012. In order to share her great vision she relies upon British Sign Language translation and this is made possible through an Access to Work grant. Continue reading “Access to Work” »

Cultural Exchange

Friday, May 9th, 2014

‘Safety In Numbers’ (2014) from sam chester on Vimeo.

This week we have had visitors. Two artists were over from Sydney on Churchill Fellowships. As well as seeing some of the cultural delights of this grand city and being introduced to a good range of arty folk they sat in with us on a bit of devising.

Craig and I were doing a bit of work plotting the next Provocation for the Warwick Commission and glad of some extra input. The fact that both Sam Chester and Sarah Vyne Vassallo are choreographers was useful as we’re trying to cook up a short gestural performance. Though their suggestions will carry an influence on our final piece, perhaps of more enduring value will be their contribution of a new term to our devising vocabulary. Where previously every speculative suggestion in the devising room had to be couched in ridiculous circumlocutory phrases such as “It probably isn’t this but I’m going to say it anyway…” or “It isn’t this but maybe it’s something like…” now the Aussies have donated the far more direct and evocative “This is probably a bomb…” we love it!

Hurray for the cultural exchange.

Big Vinyl

Friday, April 25th, 2014

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Our agent in Canada has sent through this image of Barbara Kruger’s installation Belief & Doubt at the Hirshhorn museum in Washington DC. Whilst most there were admiring the visual impact and processing the work’s conceptual dimensions our man was in industrial espionage mode: “how on earth have they applied these vast rolls of vinyl so flawlessly?” (see third photograph down).

We thought our vinyl application was good but now the bar has been raised significantly.

Small Crowd Out

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

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On 8th June a choir of 1000 people will gather at Millennium Point to perform the world premiere of David Lang’s Crowd Out. BCMG who have commissioned the piece have asked if we will keep an eye on the visual aspect of the piece, which is exciting new territory for us. Tonight there is a gathering of most of the twenty conductors who are to lead each of the 50 voice choirs which come together to form the mega choir. It’s time to learn the piece.

If you are keen to join in there are still some places vacant in the choir so visit the BCMG website to sign up.

Lighting Up

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

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Tomorrow night’s performance of The Anatomy of Melancholy is curiously positioned, it’s not an opening night with all its attendant but we have only performed the show four times before and that was seven months ago, since when we’ve hacked the thing about, plus it’s our first gig at The REP in a decade so there still feels enough to be anxious about. Continue reading “Lighting Up” »

Zero Hour

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

It is not often that anything hits the news that I have first hand experience off, so it has been interesting listening to recent talk about “Zero Hours Contracts”. A report, recently published, suggests that there are far more employees on these contracts than official figures state. The majority of news coverage I have come across puts forward the argument against these contracts as being too heavily weighted in favour of the employer; they allow the employer to be able to call an employee as and when they wish them to work rather than committing to a specified number of hours per-week in advance. Continue reading “Zero Hour” »

More Intimacy Required

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013


Photo of Little Earthquake’s The Year Is twenty-One courtesy of Pilot.

Tonight the Stan’s Cafe board of directors met (for the 65th time) and agreed a plan that has been brewing for a while but has been difficult to push to completion. We’re excited to announce that, as of mid-October, our venue @ A E Harris is going to focus on more intimate work. On that date we are releasing the bulk of the venue so that our landlords, the excellent A.E.Harris & Co. (Birmingham) Ltd. can expand their manufacturing output and we can concentrate more of our energies on our core business of welding together tip top theatre. Continue reading “More Intimacy Required” »


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