Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Furious Folly

August 19th, 2014


There has been a lot of art sloshing around the centenary of the start of WW1, including our own collaboration with Nenad Prokic, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun, but there is nothing that I have wanted to see more urgently than Mark Anderson’s Furious Folly.

Mark is a brilliant artist and spot on person. He is bright and imaginative enough to draw inspiration from the Dadaist response to World War 1. He has the pyrotechnic skills to make you feel you are stood in the middle of World War 1 but the sensitivity and artistic craft to resist doling out shell shock to his audience.

In Northcroft Park, Newbury he is curating a team of artists to make something that is bound to be extraordinary. The real blow is that it is the same weekend (last weekend in August) that we’re engaged with The Commentators at Moseley Folk Festival. Which could become the dictionary definition of The Sublime and The Ridiculous.

Pif-Paf Whoosh

August 18th, 2014


I have just spent a somewhat ill-judged couple of days in a field. Fortunately, just as I was starting to drown in the mire Pif-Paf sailed to my rescue. The company had spent a few days @ A E Harris way back in November 2011 working on a show which I am sure was going to be called something else but must have eventually became Something To Hold.

The show was perfectly judged for this family festival environment. The children were instantly enchanted by two sprite-like beings who evoked the wonder of stardust. Then the music kicked in and the running and spinning started and I couldn’t help but be enchanted.

Performed without words around a large gyroscopic contraption part telescope, astrolabe and ship the piece is has a great spinning energy. The narrative is tight enough to give a dynamic sense of direction and lose enough to accommodate interpretations and diversion. As I read it a ship’s captain / navigator is charting the stars and his route, is swept around and lost in a storm, haunted by sirens / sea spirits who he wrestles. He is subsumed and beaten. He is rescued and abandoned – something like that, but it doesn’t matter. The piece is performed with verve and focus, the music drives it on and takes it places. There is a fantastic sequence with ropes becoming a bull’s head on the sailor. The piece is choreographed by Motionhouse‘s Kevin Finnan and the teaming of him and Pif-Paf seems to work extremely well. It was twenty glorious minutes in weekend mild aesthetic torment.

Thank You

July 30th, 2014


Thank you for everyone who listened in to Tuning Out To Radio Z last night and to our volunteer sleepers Roger and Andrea as well as Ester, who helped us make the show originally and was at the conference so stepped in to help me deal with incoming text messages.

Our installation Of All The Creatures Across The Globe remains at Warwick University as part of the IFTR conference until Friday afternoon – please ignore the conference literature that says you have to book time slots, this turns out not to be the case.

The original Of All The People In All The World continues at St. Martin’s Parish Centre in Worcester until Friday at 5pm.

Tune In

July 29th, 2014

Listen to Tuning Out With Radio Z 19:45 – 21:45 here. You can also communicate with the show by logging into its website.

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Radio Z Returns

July 28th, 2014


On Friday things weren’t going so well with our efforts to revive Tuning Out With Radio Z, we’d forgotten quite how complicated it all is – despite being an improvised show. Continue reading “Radio Z Returns” »

Animal Set Up

July 24th, 2014


Whilst Craig and Jack researched human statistics for Of All The People In All The World in St. Martin’s Church, Worcester – which opens on Monday. I saw to various jobs around the office and beyond before zipping over to the University of Warwick to complete the installation of statistics for Of All The Creatures Across The Globe. After eleven years dealing exclusively with white rice it is a great joy to be parlaying with pepper corns and pumpkin seeds, black sesame and almonds, chick peas and mung beans, red lentils and sago.

It was Shady Brady weather but a supply of cool water kept coming and a gang of assistants helped speed things along. The boxes are looking good in the meanders and responses from bystanders seemed very strong, so hopefully a lot of people will get to enjoy the piece and hopefully we will get some more life from what has been a logistics heavy project.

Diamond Scales

July 23rd, 2014


The notion of doing an animal version of Of All The People In All The World has been an intriguing idea floating around for a few years. A few months ago Professor Baz Kershaw approached us with an opportunity to deploy the idea. He planned to create three ‘Meadow Meanders’ for a big international theatre conference at Warwick University and invited us to contribute animal statistics to his walks. The opportunity seemed too fun to turn down. Continue reading “Diamond Scales” »

Peace In Our Time

July 18th, 2014

JFK and the Cuban Exiles. Photo credit: Graeme Braidwood

It takes a bit to get me on my feet at the end of a theatre show but Year 6 deserved their standing ovation last night. If the progress they have made in the last two months is remarkable their improvement in the last week has been astonishing. The confidence flowing from Wednesday’s first successful performance powered them through Thursday’s matinee and further confidence from that performance fueled by fatigue and ice-cream helped them improve another huge leap in the evening performance. Continue reading “Peace In Our Time” »

Rebellious Chief Armageddon

July 15th, 2014



Any Fool Can Start A War opens tomorrow at mac birmingham and it’s looking great. Obviously we’d love to have had more rehearsal time in school and more rehearsal time in the theatre but we’re making no excuses, we’re proud of what’s been achieved.

Everyone at school has been excited by the amount of media coverage the show has been getting. Yesterday there was a photo feature on the show nationwide in the Metro, then Michael Rosen picked out this story on Channel 5′s The Wright Show, which delighted people even more, they love Michael Rosen – who doesn’t love Michael Rosen, possibly only Michael Gove and he’s no longer a threat.

There have also been features in The Stage, Birmingham Post, Birmingham Mail but this is my favourite… “Rebellious Chief Armageddon” is a great way to start and further down my press release quote appears to have been translated into Dutch and back again, gaining interest and excitement along the way.

Billesley Radio

July 10th, 2014


We have cause some of our own agro this week at Billesley Primary School. We’re trying to rehearse a highly ambitious, original play about the Cuban Missile Crisis with 60 members of Year 6 and, because they’re Year 6 and it’s their penultimate week at primary school, there are lots of demands on their time. Lots of these demands are totally unavoidable but Billesley Radio was avoidable, in fact it was our idea. Continue reading “Billesley Radio” »

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