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Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Othello 110 – 30

Sunday, June 30th, 2019

We’re all familiar with unfamiliar Performer : Audience ratios now, but next week’s 110 : 30 must still raise eyebrows; an oligarch booking the Kirov Ballet for a modest birthday bash? No, half of Year 8 at Saltley Academy performing Othello to a class from Year 7.

You may recognise Saltley from its recent appearance on The Great British School Swap, this is the fourth edition of our insanely optimistic Shakespeare collaboration with Saltley Academy in which ever member Year 8 has to perform both at school and in Stratford-upon-Avon. In 2016 Lucy Nicholls made version of The Tempest which neatly put narrators on microphones mixing genuine Shakespeare with modern language whilst visual storytelling took place on the stage. The following year we were challenged to up the Shakespeare quotient, so A Midsummer Night’s Dream contained a tiny fraction of Shakespeare’s words but what words there were were all his. We added eyes to household objects to make a puppet show to avoid students having to act as if they were in love. Last year we were challenged to do it all without puppets, so we took on The Merchant of Venice with costumes instead of puppets and with contracted scripts all perfect bound to avoid the confetti, ticker-tape phenomena of previous years. Continue reading “Othello 110 – 30” »

Almost Secret Art

Monday, December 17th, 2018

Last Wednesday Laura, Roisin and I jumped on a train from Jewellery Quarter station and took the 14 minute ride to Acocks Green where we found our way to the mostly hidden Archbishop Ilsley Catholic School where Craig had come to the conclusion of a modest new edition of the Echo Eternal series commemorating the Holocaust in schools across Birmingham this year. Back in the spring he worked with students from Jewellery Quarter Academy creating Zigi Doesn’t Hate (see video above), inspired by the testimony of Zigi Shipper. On this occasion it was Hedi Frankl who provided the inspiration. Continue reading “Almost Secret Art” »

Inspired Illustration

Monday, 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

Sunday, 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

Monday, 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

Saturday, March 17th, 2018

Moon_Landings_Project

With a busy term of work planned for summer 2018 we are recruiting five part-time freelance Creative Learning Associates to deliver a range of exciting projects in primary and secondary schools. We are looking for a variety of practitioners with specialisms including maths, drama, costume making and poetry and makers/sculptors.

To find our more about these roles and the particular projects please download the Creative Learning Associate Summer Call Out information sheet HERE.

To apply please send a C.V. and a covering letter explaining your interest in and suitability for the role(s), to our Creative Learning Producer – Lucy Nicholls, via email: lucy@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 5th April, 6pm. Shortlisted candidates will be asked to attend a workshop on Monday 16th April.

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.

Unlocking Anti-Semitism

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

On Tuesday, Darius Jackson from the University College London, Centre for Holocaust Education, came to Saltley Academy and lead a twilight teacher training session called Unlocking Anti-Semitism. He was there because we are about to start working on The Merchant of Venice with the English Department and Year 8 students and it seemed sensible for us to arm ourselves with a bit of knowledge about the history of Anti-Semitism before we start. Continue reading “Unlocking Anti-Semitism” »

Dream like

Sunday, July 9th, 2017


Photo credit: Graeme Braidwood

The course of true love never did run smooth and neither did doing a Shakespeare play with 240 twelve and thirteen year olds, however last week was a lot less tempestuous than it could have been. Continue reading “Dream like” »

Shakespeare Recipe

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Here’s the recipe.

Take William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a filleting knife. Cut away any material that can be possibly regarded as fat, leaving a lean narrative, anything remotely repetitive should be cut out and thrown away, retain a hint of poetry for the purposes of flavour. Continue reading “Shakespeare Recipe” »

Beginnings and Endings

Monday, June 26th, 2017

At the beginning of the year a small group of Year 6 children from Billesley Primary School joined us at our base in AE Harris to begin work on an online choose your own adventure story. We used the journey from their school to the Jewellery Quarter as inspiration for possible starting points, settings and characters for their stories. As I walked with them I realised that this was their last year in primary school and that they were one of the first groups of children we had worked with in our now five year long partnership with Billesley Primary.

I first met them when they were in Year Two and aged 6. Together we made a comic book version of Treasure Island and looking back at the pictures from that project you can see their personalities shining through. The following year they worked with us on a Weather Project documenting the daily conditions, writing poetry and creating costumes for a meteorological themed performance in the school hall. In Year Four we explored Ancient China with them. Last summer when they were in Year 5 we made Superfast Shakespeare, a quick fire rendering of five Shakespeare Plays performed outdoors in their playground and on the terrace of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford.

 
Now they are in Year 6 and a group of ten of these now 11 year olds have just finished creating The Amazing Adventures Of You. They wrote stories and learnt coding to create a hypertext adventure in which you, the reader can choose which path you want to choose through the story.

We wish these children and the rest of Year 6 at Billesley the very best for their future adventures and thank them for their work with us over the years.

 
Please read and enjoy the amazing adventure they have created for you HERE

Craig


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