Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Archive for the ‘@AEHarris’ Category

BE Festival In

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Be In

Things are cranking up @ A E Harris as the BE Festival are setting up. The performance area has been painted black, a dance floor is waiting to be laid, a seating bank is being constructed, things are being cleaned, more power is to be installed for cookers and fridges.

Come Wednesday when festivities open veterans of the venue will be impressed at the transformation, those who’ve never been here before will simply be impressed.

BE Festival

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

BE-Festival

OK, it feels like crunch time now. Is this City going to allow itself to develop a proper theatre scene or should we just all move to the seaside?

The BE Festival kicks off on 30th June (VERY SOON). It’s @ AE Harris until 3rd July. Each night the Bar opens at 6pm and at 7pm you a series of 30 minute theatre shows starts. There are 15 companies in attendance from across Europe, each with their own show, a cluster of each showing each night. They’re not being paid, they’re there for the love, the glory, a cash prize and a possible commissioning opportunity.

Despite bits of funding from the City Council and the Arts Council this is a seriously Grassroots, Hand-to-Mouth operation. The organizers have 100 tickets to sell each night for £10 each and THEY NEED TO SHIFT THEM.

I genuinely think this is the most exciting theatre event to have happen in Birmingham for as long as I can remember. When do you ever get to see theatre from abroad in this city? How rare is it to see young companies from abroad in the UK outside Edinburgh at festival time? Very Rare. Never. Until now. No one need panic, much of the work is from abroad but you don’t need to be polyglot to enjoy the festival. It’s all visual / non-verbal stuff and they can’t get any local media coverage, which is unfortunately pretty standard. So it’s down to us and word of mouth. LET”S GIVE THESE COMPANIES A PROPER WELCOME. LET”S TURN UP!

PLEASE TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW. LET”S HELP MAKE IT HAPPEN. BOOK YOUR PLACE.

Out of Chaos

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

outofchaos

As a fundraiser for the Birmingham European Theatre Festival Temple Theatre are going to be performing their production Out Of Chaos @ A E Harris on 21st May. Doors open 19.30 show at 20.00. Tickets £10. To reserve tickets email info@befestival.org with your name and the number of tickets you require.

Some of the Stan team saw the show in Edinburgh last Summer and enjoyed it very much. Here is a message from the BE Festival team:

Please support our first festival year and join us for live music, a plentiful bar, tasty home-made cakes, and the double award-winning international show: Out of Chaos by temple theatre.

1st Prize, Bilbao Act Festival 2008
Audience Prize, Berlin 100º Festival 2008
‘Pick of the Fringe’, Edinburgh 2009

‘Every once in a while there comes a show that owes its origins to the unique chemistry of the group of people who came together to make it… it works as a magic formula… you are bound to come out satisfied’ – The Stage

‘Entertaining and engaging: no-frills theatre showcasing the art of storytelling’ - British Theatre Guide

‘This audacious approach to such a serious subject matter was executed with panache and playfulness, meaning the audience was constantly laughing. Go see.’ – Three Weeks Magazine

Six people from around the world come together with lots to get off their chests – from the creation of the world to last week’s terrible tube journey.

Randy Greek Gods, feuding families and strangers on public transport go head-to-head in a fast, funny and delightfully furious hour. An anarchic blend of clowning, cross-dressing, physical theatre and music, Out of Chaos is storytelling at its very best.

[It would be great if we could get 100 folk in to raise a decent wedge of cash to make the exciting Birmingham European Theatre Festival Happening. Please spread the word] – Stan.

Heavy Metal and Classical

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

heavymetal

There was a disaster in the final Home of the Wriggler gig in Plymouth, the hand-wheel broke 20 minutes in and couldn’t be repaired, as a result all the subtle lighting in the show was knocked out. Somehow they muddled through using the lights run off the two bikes but it was a bad business.

Fortunately Mark had prepared us for this eventuality by packing us off with a spare motor and today Craig was able to perform the transplant and revive the hand-wheel. At the same time his on-going efforts to mitigate the attritional effects of touring and keep the racing bike operational had hit a major problem. An indentation needed to be drilled in a tough bit of metal and our cordless drill was making little impact. After a period of frustration boarding on despair it occurred to me that our landlords are metal fabricators. A quick chat with the boss and a visit to one of the workshops and our recess was precision drilled and the bike was back together more robust than it has been for months and ready for a tour of duty in Dartington tomorrow and Frome on Thursday.

From bike repair we zoomed directly over to the CBSO Centre to interview players from Birmingham Contemporary Music Group for our forthcoming collaboration I See WIth My Eyes Closed. We are gathering thoughts about what it is to be a professional musician and these interviews were set up to help us. It was a fascinating afternoon. The players were all very generous with their time and open in their approach to our questions, I would happily have stayed on all afternoon pumping them for information and stories. We learned a tremendous amount, not least that we are going to have to rethink how we approach Section 3 of our piece. Damn. Two steps forwards and one back.

Home Of The Wriggler Tonight!

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

There’s a chance to catch Home Of The Wriggler tonight @AE Harris our performance space in Birmingham, before the show goes out on tour over the next few weeks. The show starts tonight at 7.30pm – for booking details visit the Diary page. Hope to see you there.

Craig

Birmingham European BE Festival

Friday, March 19th, 2010

This summer @ A E Harris is to host the BE Festival.

Fifteen companies from across Europe will come together with local audiences for an exchange of live performances, workshops, discussions, celebratory partying and Etc. Each company will present a 30 minute long performance competing for a £1500 prize and the opportunity to present a full length version of the piece at MAC in 2011.

“How does my company get in on this?” you may be asking. The answer is simple. Visit the BE website, download an application form and get on with it. Good Luck. For everyone else, put the dates in your diary and make sure you are around @ A E Harris for a bit of European flavour.

British Dance Edition: @ A E Harris

Friday, February 5th, 2010

It was great to see the crowds back @ A E Harris today for the British Dance Edition.

Dudendance showed their solo piece Spaceman (for links see the entry before last), which was beautiful, spacious, slow, resonant and very powerful. The male performer slowly morphs through a series of physicalities ghostly, robotic, astronaut, Gorilla, body builder leaving plenty of time and space for us to make our own connections with the piece. I was particularly please because they had adapted the piece so it made strong but understated used of the architecture in the venue’s ‘Europe’ zone and the lighting designer created a beautiful play between the spaces own natural daylight and his own subtle additions.

As I left to run errands a large crowed was jostling for position to see The Clod Ensembles show. The venue has scrubbed up pretty well and is welcoming the Dance Crowd, happy days.

James

British Dance Edition: In-day 1

Monday, February 1st, 2010

It was an exciting day down @ A E Harris today as things swung into action for the British Dance Edition showcase events at the space.

The Clod Ensemble have transformed the central space with enhanced black out, black carpet and black fabric around the walls. A platoon of flight cases look like they’ll take no prisoners on the lighting and sound front. Within wooden flight-cases must be the set for Under Glass.

Up the slope from them Dudendance are mostly using our kit for their production Spaceman.

It’s been great having so many people around grafting away. Craig and I have been edging forward preparations for Final Steps a modest edition of the Steps Series. The tricky thing is going to be working out when we can open it to the public as the British Dance Edition mixes trade-fare with public performances.

New Toy

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Today we took delivery of another piece of tasty kit, WARNING: only the Sparks amongst you need read on.

Thus far @ A E Harris we’ve only rigged the minimal lighting which can run off a 6 channel dimmer and a 13amp socket. Now, with the British Dance Edition looming, we’ve finally bitten the bullet and asked Mike The Electrician to install a 63amp three phase socket on the wall. The new toy is a distribution box. It is a dumpy rubber cube. It sits on the floor. One face carries the socket into which the three phase comes in. A second face carries three 63amp single phase sockets. A third carries one 32amp and four 16amp single phase sockets. The fourth face houses an array of RCD trip switches. Finally there’s a handle on top for carrying it around.

The thing was made for us bespoke, rapidly and with great good humour by the Rubber Box Company of Burnley, who Arvo recommended and who now we in turn recommend for all your distribution needs.

The only bad news is that getting all this sorted out has cost us most of the hire fee we’re receiving for the BDE week. One day maybe we will stop having to ‘invest in the space’ and a hire fee will actually hit our bank account.

Extra Luxury

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Some of you may have thought this impossible, but for our revered patrons luxury has been cranked up a further notch @ A E Harris. Further cast-off sofas have arrived. I recommend coming to try them out at the British Dance Edition in a couple of weeks time.


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