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Archive for the ‘It’s Your Film’ Category

It’s Your Film – the reboot

Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

Back in 1998 Stan’s Cafe was in big trouble. We’d made a show, Simple Maths, so wondrously minimal that the unobservant believed it was a drama in which nothing happens. The fall out of this was that plans for our next show, A Translation Of Shadows, had to be put back sixteen years and we had no money. The only theatre work on our horizon was a £400 commission from The Bond, an artist run gallery in Birmingham, to make a one-off performance for their regular Friday night performance art slot. Continue reading “It’s Your Film – the reboot” »

Bragging Rights

Sunday, May 15th, 2011


In Belgrade back in 2002 a promoter suggested that Stan’s Cafe were the only theatre company he could imagine adapting for the stage his favourite book. Obviously as soon as we got home I ran out and ordered copy and for almost a decade the thing has sat beside my bed reminding me of that compliment/challenge. A year ago enough finally became enough and we started tentatively talking to promoters about this crazy adaptation. Described by some, including Philip Pullman, as the best book ever written, the thing is almost four hundred years old, the paperback resembles a stubby house brick in dimensions and the Folio Society edition runs to three volumes. I’ve secretly been excited by the way the thing is balanced between obscurity and notoriety. On Tuesday I was moving things up a level with a prestigious promoter with that as one of the lures and on Thursday bloody Melvyn Bragg broadcasts a half hour documentary about the thing on Radio 4. Obviously being the subject of an edition of In Our Time hardly bequeaths popular culture status on anything, but even so it’s a bit galling.

So I’d just like to state here and now for the record – we’re looking at this Despite not Because of Melvyn Bragg (though his program has helped quite a bit with our research).


2 shows in 1 = 3 shows

Thursday, September 9th, 2010

Years of packing vans for touring became mere training for yesterday’s great challenge, packing Apollo Steps (the vinyl cutter etc) and It’s Your Film INSIDE The Black Maze. Highly developed spatial reasoning and a modicum of brute strength did the trick in the end, so that lot is ready for Graeme to drive down to Montpellier once he gets back from Tokyo.


Meanwhile Jon, in his ever evolving quest to perfect sound arrangements for Of All The People In All The World, has delivered a beautiful box of tricks and chips too complicated to explain, which, in one bespoke silver unit delivers atmospherics, music, real-time time chimes and a ‘tannoy’. I’m taking it to Tokyo in my hand luggage and will post a photograph of its exterior in situ.

Jon was up to see The Modified Toy Orchestra. Last night’s gig was fantastic, beautifully structured, performed and played. It looked great, the sound was good – if a little genteel volume-wise and the music stunning. I’m never sure what the driving ambition of the MTO is, but if it is popular global acclaim then surely they have the package here to deliver that for them. I saw lots of familiar faces in the crowd, what did you think?

IYF & The Times

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

The history of It’s Your Film is littered with notable strangeness. Today this history was added to as a journalist came up from London on a train to see the show. She came, she saw it; all four and a half minutes of it. She loved it. She didn’t want to see it twice. She interviewed us. She was very pleasant. She refused all tea and coffee and she left.

Superficially it would seem a lot of effort to go to for just one person to see the show, but a good name check in The Times wouldn’t go amiss. It stokes up goodwill with the promoters and the press agents, which is also worthwhile. It gives us a chance to familiarize Jack with the show, which puts us ahead of the game further down the line. Crucially it also prompted us into digging out all the set and props and costumes and technical kit required to run the show. Ultimately it forced us to remember the thing.

The show isn’t notated and despite having performed it thousands of times, we struggled to remember it. After couple of stumbling attempts things started slotting into place and started to grow familiar but our guest turned up before it all felt right. We went with what we had. This evening a text came through from Craig – we/I had missed out ‘The Notes Scene’. It may only be five seconds long but that’s a fine scene and key to my character’s through-line Etc. how could I forget it? How unprofessional! We await a drubbing in the press.

Day Off

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010


Today was planned as a day off, then it became the day that The Cleansing Of Constance Brown set arrived back from Cologne, then it also became the day that The Sunday Independent wanted to do a photo shoot for It’s Your Film, which observant followers of the diary portion of this page will have noted is BACK for the first time in almost five years.

Part of the reason today was supposed to be a day-off is that it is also half-term. So another day of ‘work experience’ for Eve (please keep it quiet that we do work experience for five year olds). Plans to put her off a life on the stage and pushing her towards medicine are going rather awry as she had a great time, zooming her truck around the storage space, riding on trolleys, playing with a bingo machine and studying how to operate a fork lift truck.

Later, with the newspaper photographer desperate to get a better gender balance in the photo-shoot, Eve took to modeling as an audience member for It’s Your Film, possibly with the consequence people will think it’s a kids show. This said, the liberties we took with the show to make the photographs tell the story required in the photogenic way required, are far more radical than suggesting it’s a kids show. We’ll see how it looks on 14th June.

Hopefully Eve will have something fairly spectacular for ‘show and tell’ at school on 15th June.

What is the point of My Fair Lady?

Friday, November 18th, 2005

Last week I took Sarah to see My Fair Lady on stage at Birmingham’s Hippodrome. It was a treat. We got a babysitter. We dressed up. We ordered interval drinks. We lashed out on ice creams.

Sarah is a big fan of the movie. I’m a big fan of Sarah’s. All non-singers must admire Rex Harrison. I admire Rex Harrison. Sarah likes musicals. I have a theory about liking anything that’s good. I thought this might be good. What it actually was was rather eerie.

This National Theatre production was pretending to be the film. It was a soulless and empty simulacrum. The cast all seemed haunted by their cinematic alter-egos, no one seemed willing to make the piece their own. Trevor Nunn and his production team resisted all temptations to create a powerful piece of theatre in order to recreate the film in unblinking long shot.

Were they scared? Did they think people drawn by the film would revolt if they saw anything they didn’t recognise on stage? Did they only get the rights when they promised to change nothing at all? Where The Producers drew power from it’s theatrical setting, My Fair Lady came a cropper. Sarah and I both left wondering why we hadn’t stayed at home and watched the DVD on wide-screen. Was there any point to this exercise other than generating heaps of cash?

Still, the evening was not entirely lost. It was good to be out with Sarah. It was good to be in a big theatre dreaming. It was fun mentally redirecting someone else’s show. It was interesting reflecting how It’s Your Film and My Fair Lady both, in very different ways, attempt to look like films, one which will never be made and one which already has.


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