Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Funded PhD opportunity

March 9th, 2016

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Good news!

The Economics and Social Research Council Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Warwick have agreed to fund a PhD studentship to investigate The Potential of the Arts in Contemporary Education. This studentship will be held between the Departments of Sociology and Theatre and Performance Studies. It will included an extended period ‘embedded in Stan’s Cafe’ as we charge about doing our Creative Learning work in schools around Birmingham. There will be lots of support from the university. The ESRC funding means that the fees are paid plus there is a maintenance stipend (terms and conditions apply – as they say).

I don’t know how many of these opportunities there are out there but if you know anyone with a serious interest in how the arts can impact on contemporary education, who wants to get their hands dirty and check out what’s actually going on and what could be possible then please point them in the direction of the jobs.ac.uk website that carries all the details. The application deadline is 29th April. We are very excited at the possibility of helping someone out as they grapple with this challenge, it should be a lot of fun.

Made Up – looking around.

March 8th, 2016

So as R&D week approaches for Made Up I’m on unfamiliar territory, dipping a toe into the world of the YouTube make-up tutorial. Almost the first thing that comes up is this sequence. It speaks for itself. It’s been viewed over 1M times. I’m not sure it helps for the show but it’s strong.

Warning: Stan’s Cafe does not endorse the cosmetic products featured in this video.

Made Up – North East

February 23rd, 2016

NESea

Marlien van Liempt has been working with us since January as a placement from University of Birmingham’s MRes Directing course. For about a month she was been researching statistics for Of All The People In All The World in Freiburg, researching materials for Trailblazers at the Council House, preparing materials for Matholympics at Washwood Heath Academy and administering casting for Made Up. After all this office based work it seemed only fair to offer her a chance to be part of a research trip to the North East of England for Made Up, arranged for us by DEP Arts and Arc Stockton-on-Tees as part of their Reach audience development project. Here is her report: Continue reading “Made Up – North East” »

Mayor Meets the Mayor

February 4th, 2016

Trailblazers

So everything that I said in yesterday’s post would happen has happened. The council house was overrun by teenagers. They all looked very smart in their school uniforms and those whose schools didn’t have uniforms still looked smart. It was a fantastic mix of young people from across the city and although, predictably, things were a little tentative initially people soon started warming up. Continue reading “Mayor Meets the Mayor” »

Trailblazers: In A Visible City

February 3rd, 2016

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Photo: Kate Green

So the Trailblazers’ map has been published and today it will be presented by 2030’s Executive Mayor of Birmingham to the current incumbent The Right Worshipful, The Lord Mayor, Councillor Raymond Hassall. Continue reading “Trailblazers: In A Visible City” »

How To Do It

January 21st, 2016

I live in fear of Tim Harford. He hosts the Radio 4 and BBC World Service program More Or Less. The premise of this brilliant programme is that they interrogate statistics that have entered the public realm but sound a bit dubious. Classically it is politicians who are subject to fact checking but the programme’s range is broad, it’s up-beat and playful; Tim Harford is fantastic but he terrifies me. Continue reading “How To Do It” »

Made Up Casting Call

January 15th, 2016

Image: Graeme Braidwood

People often ask us: “How can I join Stan’s Cafe?” One way to get involved is to come and audition for our shows. We are excited to announce that we are on the hunt for two female performers to join Stan’s Cafe’s latest project: MADE UP.

MADE UP is a collaboration between Stan’s Cafe and a theatrical make-up artist. This new devised play is about friendship and the faces we show the world, and will feature live theatrical make-up transformations. MADE UP will premiere at The REP Birmingham before touring the North East of England.

Continue reading “Made Up Casting Call” »

Dry January (2)

January 5th, 2016

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Eyes will be to the skies in Birmingham on 7th and 12th as the last three Trailblazer walks are undertaken. Following heroic tales told of St. George’s Steps, Birmingham City Council commissioned us to make a project with young people about their aspirations and their city. Our response is Trailblazers: In A Visible City. Continue reading “Dry January (2)” »

Dry January

January 4th, 2016

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Happy New Year. Here at Cafe HQ much like the North of England and much of Scotland we are very keen on January being a dry month, but for a much more frivolous reason.

In 2012 we used bio-degradable paint to make three outdoor editions of The Steps Series – painting footsteps, hand prints and speech bubbles on pavements and paths to set out instructions for re-enacting miniature dramatic scenes. Indoors using vinyl the installation is a breeze, outdoors with paint it’s not, it’s a pain. In fact it is such a pain that we secretly agreed that we’d spare ourselves the grief and stick to indoor versions, but that was before… Continue reading “Dry January” »

Changing the Guard

December 24th, 2015

A changing of the arts guard has been sneaking up on us in the West Midlands.

Tim Hodgson must have been Performing Arts Producer at mac birmingham for over a year now. There he replaced Louisa Davies who moved to become Events Manager at the RSC. Paul Burns has moved on from International Dance Festival Birmingham. Fiona Allan is the new boss at the Hippodrome having moved from The Curve in Leicester. Stephen and Jackie Newbould are leaving Birmingham Contemporary Music Group soon. Aaron Wright has just been announced as Artistic Director of Fierce replacing Harun Morrison and Laura MacDermott.

Each producer / programmer brings their own personal interests and preferences to a new post, which impact on who they commission and who they book. Each shuffling of personnel appears to close down opportunities for some and open avenues for others. There are fresh starts and new visions wherever we turn. These are exciting times.

The final exchange on what I suspect is an incomplete list is that Matt Burman has left Warwick Arts Centre (to head up the Yorkshire festival) and is replaced by Julia Carruthers. Matt had a great interest and experience of Contemporary Theatre, which suited Stan’s Cafe very well. Julia seems to have had more of a focus on Contemporary Dance, so we may have to introduce ourselves to her. I’m hoping that this introduction goes well, not least because she was tour managing the Michael Clark Company when they were collaborating with The Fall and she must must have some hair raising stories to tell of those days.


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