Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands


March 19th, 2015


We’re all familiar with the phenomena whereby something goes from invisible to jumping out at you as your interest in its category changes. You’re thinking of buying a Honda Civic and you go from never noticing them to seeing them everywhere. For me now it’s Lecterns. We need one for A Translation of Shadows. We think we will get it built, so we need to design it and now I have an intense interest in lecterns. There was a beautiful one at the Barber Institute. This one is at Saltely academy. I like it a lot but it is wider than the one we will get designed.

We are doing a big project with Saltley after easter so I put the lectern to good use introducing Stan’s Cafe to the assembled staff. As it was mock exam time the staff were all sat at individual exam desks, an unusual sight.

Today, without lectern Jack and I rehearse Making Shadows for Flatpack Film Festival which opens TODAY and as ever is full of excellent film and film related good stuff.

Bring on the Boffins

March 14th, 2015


Buried away deep in this website, visited by none but the most assiduous web crawling bot, is a bibliography. Originally put together a few years ago using slave labour from Warwick University’s Cultural Studies MA program this bibliography is an attempt to locate fleeting mentions of Stan’s Cafe in reputable publications and thus ease the lives of those students looking to back up their opinons by using someone elses’ opinions. Continue reading “Bring on the Boffins” »

Research Opportunity

March 11th, 2015

academic-recruitAlong with our Partner Schools Network we are looking to engage a researcher who is interested in how schools are responding to the government requirement that schools promote British Values. We are about to do some work in schools with this as its focus and we’d like to have someone keep tabs on reflect on this activity from an independent perspective. You can download more details including how to apply here.

BCMG Family Concert

March 2nd, 2015


Over the last two evenings we have been in the amazing deco setting of the Barber Institute Concert Hall listening to the amazing players of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group work through early rehearsals for the pieces that they will be playing as part of their family concert on Sunday. It’s been a treat, like private concerts with the added bonus of the conductor Christopher Austin tweak their performance to the shape he wishes. It’s soothing listening to the music and soothing to have a rehearsal going on that you have no responsibility for.

Our job, as ever, is to add a bit of theatrical flare to the concert proceedings without distracting too much from the music. We have a few ideas up our sleeves including the idea of teaming up with Paul Gaffney, a fantastic photographer whose specialism is sets of photographs taken on extended walks. He has produced a great set of new images especially for this concert and is also kindly allowing us to use his acclaimed series We Make The Path By Walking and another as yet unreleased series shot by moonlight. Next Monday, after two schools concerts, Paul will be giving a talk about his work at Library of Birmingham (18:00 -19:30) who, along with GRAIN have co-commissioned this new set of images.

We have a break tomorrow, then on Wednesday we focus in on our plans quite intently. Thursday is set aside for a bit of technical prep and work from us. On Friday it’s music and theatre. Saturday evening is a dress rehearsal and Sunday we fix everything that will be wrong with the dress rehearsal and perform at 11:30 and 14:00 before having a little lie down.

The Mystery

February 17th, 2015


So on Friday night I saw The Cardinals for what may prove to be the last time. I’m back at Heathrow now, don’t do the Australian leg of the tour and there are currently no performances booked beyond that.

Obviously I would love the show to continue on for many more years, but if does have to end here then so be it, I would be content that the piece had a decent run and grew to be a strong work of art. Our experience in Toronto has confirmed this for me. Continue reading “The Mystery” »

Cardinals Revisited

February 11th, 2015


It was great to catch up with The Cardinals in Columbus Ohio. The show was at the Wexner Arts Center, which is on the Ohio State University Campus. The theatre is a vast place, so big that for shows like ours, the curtains are closed and a seating bank is built on the stage. It was intriguing to see the shifts the show has made in my absence and through multiple performances. Continue reading “Cardinals Revisited” »

Rowena Wilding

February 8th, 2015

rowena-in-officeAs I mentioned in an earlier post ‘the Charlotte Martin Decade’ has drawn to a close at Stan’s Cafe and there is a cheery new presence at mission control. We no longer have a General Manager; we have a less general Administrator and in April we will be joined by a rather more executive Producer. Continue reading “Rowena Wilding” »

Geoff Sims

January 24th, 2015

It was with great sadness I learned late last week that Geoff Sims has died. Geoff was Director of mac birmingham when Stan’s Cafe first made contact with the venue in 1991. He was always very supportive to us, as he was to very many people. He was a warm and generous person who I was always very pleased to bump into in and around Birmingham’s arts scene – particularly at mac.

Dorothy Wilson’s Obituary for her friend and colleague filled in many details of Geoff’s professional life and confirmed what a great contribution he made to the region’s artistic community. There is an opportunity to celebrate this contribution through contributions to a Photographic Fund started by mac birmingham in his honour (email for details).

Geoff Sims (1944 – 2014) RIP

Live from NYC

January 16th, 2015

Live coverage from the Foyer of The Public Theatre, New York City. Don’t miss any of the action. Web casting 23:30 – 03:30.

When is Boring Not?

January 15th, 2015

Tomorrow The Commentators return. This time they are ‘stateside’ for their first American engagement since the heady days of the original New York Cosmos – Pele, Beckenbauer et al. On Friday they will bringing eager listeners all the comings, goings and lingerings in the Foyer of The Public Theater, Manhattan. Due to the time difference UK listeners will have to tune in between 23:30 and 03:30 GMT to catch the action live as it happens (the link will be on this homepage).

Fans of The Commentators may also be interested in the television broadcasts which are the subject of the TED talk linked to above.

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