Stan's Cafe is a group of artists from a variety of disciplines, though primarily theatre practitioners, working under the artistic direction of James Yarker. The company consists of a core of long term collaborators and a range of associated artists. The line up changes according to the project being worked upon.
Graeme and James agreed to form the company whilst eating at Stan's Cafe, just off Brick Lane in London.
We wanted an unusual name, but one that wasn't too aggressive, too posturing, a cheap joke, a bad pun or overly earnest. Station House Opera had always seemed a good name, mainly because they didn't do opera. So there you go...
Oh yes and it's pronounced Caff.
Stan's Cafe was formed when both Graeme and James were pretty rootless. Birmingham was chosen as the company's base for a number of reasons. Graeme had been brought up here and so knew the city. The place was cheap to live in and easy to tour from. Neither of us knew of any companies resembling the one we wanted to form already in the city. We fancied being big fish in what seemed like a big pond. At that time (1991) Birmingham was in the middle of the enormous civic investment programme that built Symphony Hall, the International Convention Centre and the National Indoor Arena. The city centre resembled a massive building site; plans were afoot for the conversion of the old Birds Custard factory into a centre for artists to work in, Hockley was gaining an identity as a media centre. It seemed like an energetic place to come.
James Yarker (artistic director)
Gained a first class theatre degree at Lancaster University. He co-founded Stan's Cafe in 1991 and has directed all the company's significant productions since then. As a result of this work he has been invited to guest lecture at Universities across the country as well as to present papers at conferences and run many workshops at home and abroad. James was an attached writer at Birmingham Rep once but failed to reconcile himself to the notion of sitting at home writing a play – he is now detached.
Craig Stephens (associate director/performer)
Craig graduated from Warwick University and gained an M.A. at Lancaster University. He has performed with a number of companies including Insomniac Productions, Plane Performance, Talking Birds, The Playhouse. He has also written for amongst others; BBC Radio 4, Talking Birds, Hamfisted!, Ludlow Assembly Rooms and Lichfield Garrick Theatre.
He first worked with Stan's Cafe devising Simple Maths in 1997 since when he has been at the heart of most of the company's activities. Craig became Associate Director in 2006, a move that acknowledges his creative contribution to the company, his direction of numerous small-scale projects and his lead of the company on tour in James's absence. Other commitments with Stan's Cafe led to him not being in Finger Trigger Bullet Gun and the casting requirements meant he couldn't be in Made Up, but he can be heard in the this production playing a DJ on the show's soundtrack, he also wrote words and lyrics to form this soundtrack.
Dave Howard (creative learning producer)
Dave has a lifelong commitment to the application of the arts to the aim of social change, with education being the most fundamental component of the toolbox. He began his arts management career at The Roadmender in Northampton and quickly followed that with a period as Company Administrator and interim CEO for the touring theatre company of the East Midlands, New Perspectives. Dave is a musical practitioner and spent five years as Director of a Youth Music Action Zone leading teams of deluxe musicians in applying their practice to a wide range of community development objectives. He is a graduate of the Clore Leadership Short Course Programme, and has an MA with distinction in Developing The Arts In Applied Contexts. Away from Stan’s Cafe Dave continues to lead ukulele groups, teach music technology and lead on music production projects.
Lucy Bird (director/administrator)
Lucy currently works with Stan's Cafe as both an Associate Artist on Creative Learning Projects and as our part-time Administrator. As if this weren't enough to do she is also a founder member of and director for Paperback. Lucy also worked as Assistant Director of the acclaimed adaptation of The Lovely Bones.
Sanjay Mistry (chair)
Sanjay has been running his own PR and Marketing business for almost 20 years and has extensive experience in public relations, external communications, social media and wider marketing. His career in PR has allowed him to work with many businesses, from large corporations, SMEs, charities and voluntary organisations to raise their profile develop and implement effective strategies as well as worked on numerous national and local campaigns. He has also had numerous roles advising charities and voluntary organisations as well as being a governor (and ex-chair) at one of Birmingham's most multi-cultural primary schools.
After five years on the Stan's Cafe board Sanjay became Chair in December 2021
Jo is Executive Principle of Billesley Primary School and OFSTED Inspector. She is a firm believer in the power of the arts to inspire students and improve schools. Before joining the board of Stan's Cafe she collaborated with the company for seven years on various project at Billesley. She is a Board Member of Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
Lindsey is Head of Sales and Marketing, mac Birmingham. After gaining an honours degree in English and Drama at Bristol University, Lindsey started work as a Training Co-ordinator with Zurich Financial Services, whilst also teaching at a youth theatre. She has worked at mac birmingham (Midlands Arts Centre) since 2001 as both a marketer and drama tutor, conveniently pausing to start a family in 2008 whist mac underwent a £15.2m redevelopment. Having also used this time to work at Warwick Arts Centre, Lindsey is an experienced arts centre marketer, also taking on the remit to manage sales and deliver commercial campaigns for mac's Trading Company. She is fascinated by the impact of an arts centre on its community, and is passionate in her belief that everyone has the ability to be an artist.
Rob is Director of Arts Connect West Midlands and former Head of Education Partnerships in the RSC's Education Department. He headed up the development of a new education partnership between the University of Warwick and the RSC called Teaching Shakespeare. He is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme, and formerly Director of Creative Partnerships, Birmingham. He was one of the founders and served as Executive Director of the educational theatre company The Play House. He was Chair of Governors of Percy Shurmer Primary School and first crossed paths with Stan's Cafe when shooting a video in his spare time. He has served two terms as chair Stan's Cafe board, the second a ten year burst that ended in December 2021.
Steve is Director of Global Business Integrity for Wealth Management at Deutsche Bank. Before being recruited by the bank Steve had a long and successful career as a pilot in the RAF. His expertise in risk management makes him a reassuring presence on the Stan's Cafe board.
Roxana Silbert is Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre. She had always admired the work of Stan's Cafe and was thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with them in her capacity as the Artistic Director of Birmingham REP. Previously Roxana was Artistic Director of Paines Plough and Associate Director at the RSC and Traverse Theatre.
Alex Alderton (performer)
Alex auditioned to take on Jan's role in The Cleansing of Constance Brown. Her first performance was in Bucharest and continued on with the show for a number of years making the part her own. Alex is an excellent singer and an acclaimed actor.
Sarah Archdeacon (deviser / performer)
Studied performance at Dartington College of Arts. She joined Stan's Cafe in 1994 and was integral to the devising of crucial run of shows through until late 2000 when personal commitments led her to reduce her Stan commitments. She is director of Corali Dance company
Selected Stan Work: Bingo, Voodoo City, Simple Maths, It's Your Film, Good and True, Space Station, Framed, Of All The People In All The World, I See With My Eyes Closed
Gerard Bell (deviser / performer)
Gerard works in conventional and experimental performance in the UK and Europe. He has worked with Chris Goode, David Gale, Stacked Wonky, Improbable, and Athina Vahla; and, more briefly, Graeme Miller, Jonathan Burrows and Pina Bausch. Also with A2, dreamthinkspeak, Punchdrunk. He has been at The Sheffield Crucible, the National Theatre, National Theatre Wales and the Orange Tree. There are films and other works with film/installation makers and friends Lucy Cash, Magali Charrier, Shelly Love, and Adam Roberts. More recently he has taken, slowly and intermittently, to developing his own, or solo, work. He has been making a piece with Karen Christopher, of Goat Island, for her new company Haranczak/Navarre, and has just made a new piece, still.here, for What Matters at the Siobhan Davies Studios.
Stan Work: The Cleansing of Constance Brown, The Cardinals, The Just Price of Flowers (revival), The Voyage, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun, Of All The People In All The World (touring) and The Capital.
Gareth Brierley (performer)
Gareth is a People Show Regular together with work with a number of other companies including Station House Opera and The Royal Exchange. Gareth stepped bravely into the breach on the opening day of The Cleansing Of Constance Brown when Andy Watson was taken ill and has performed the show many times since then. He has also performed for Stan's Cafe in It's Your Film. He is co-Artistic Director of White Rabbit with Bernadette Russell.
Heather Burton (deviser / performer)
Heather studied at Warwick University. Worked as a performer with Third Angel, Plane Performance and Talking Birds. She has also worked with Gary Stevens on the group project Pieces of People. For Stan's Cafe she has mixed devising with stepping into existing roles.
Stan Work: The Carrier Frequency, Lurid and Insane, It's Your Film (touring), Framed, Of All The People In All The World, Be Proud of Me (touring), Home of the Wriggler
Alison Carney (performer)
Once Birmingham based before going to that London, Ali is a regular performer on Radio Four and for a number of different companies in the Midlands including The Birmingham Rep, Leicester Haymarket and Women and Theatre. She first worked with Stan's Cafe on the world version of Of All The People In All The World and has toured with the show on a number of occasions since then.
Cait Davis (performer)
Performed in our restaging of The Carrier Frequency.
Chris Dugrenier (performer)
Chris is a graduate of Dartington College Of Arts. She first worked with Stan's Cafe invigilating The Black Maze. Since then she has worked on many Creative Learning projects for the company and is a regular on tour with Of All The People In All The World. She was in the original cast of The Just Price of Flowers and Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. She has helped install various Steps editions. She has collaborated with the company and BCMG on their family concerts Noise Into Notes and Pathways and Places. She played Brunnhilde in Twilightofthefreakingods and in 2018 represented the company advising/directing a community project Shoulder To Shoulder at Royal and Durngate.
You can read more about Chris's solo work here.
Charlotte Goodwin (performer)
Charlotte is a writer and teacher of writing. For Stan's Cafe she has been a reliable workshop leader and valued member of many touring teams. Her work with us includes: It's Your Film (touring), The Black Maze (touring), Of All The People (touring), Creative Learning Work and City Adventures.
Charlotte Gregory (performer)
On graduating from University Charlotte volunteered to help with Stan's Cafe in 2008. She has subsequently performed on tour in Of All The People In All The World and The Cleansing of Constance Brown. She is an ever present in The Just Price of Flowers, has toured with It's Your Film and appeared in Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. She has contributed to the company's creative learning work.
She now works a producer for various dancers and Vamos Theatre.
Amanda Hadingue (deviser / performer)
Gained a first class theatre degree at Lancaster University in 1988. Amanda has been a key member of Stan's Cafe, helping to shape the company and its work since 1993. She has worked as a performer and deviser with many of Britain's most respected experimental theatre companies including: IOU Theatre, The People Show, Station House Opera, Scarlet Theatre, Pete Brooks's Insomniac Productions, Gary Stephens, Graeme Miller and David Gale. In recent years her work with The Globe, Complicite, The National Theatre and RSC has reduced her appearances for Stan's Cafe.
Selected Stan Work: Canute the King, Bingo In The House Of Babel, Voodoo City, Simple Maths, It's Your Film, Good and True, Lurid and Insane, Space Station, Framed, Of All The People In All The World, Be Proud Of Me, Home Of The Wriggler, Tuning Out With Radio Z, I See With My Eyes Closed.
Amy Ann Haigh (performer)
Amy auditioned to take on Heather's role in Home Of The Wriggler on its 2010 trip to Beijing. She impressed so much that she was offered Jan/Alex's role in The Cleansing of Constance Brown. She was also in Twilightofthefreakingods, The Camp, the touring version of Time Critical and devised The Capital with the company. Most recently she has made the video piece For Quality Purposes.
Having trained at Bird College, Amy has since worked professionally on both stage and screen, performing with companies including Needless Allies and Sonia Sabri Company. She is also Co-Director of performance company, Sneaky Beast.
Emily Holyoake (performer / writer)
Emily performed the role of Kate in Made Up for Stan's Cafe and has subsequently changed her focus to become a successful playwright learn more about her plays via her website.
For Stan's Cafe she was part of the 2020 revival of Home Of The Wriggler which held many close family resonances. She was also part of the devising/performing team that made For Quality Purposes.
Carys Jones (performer)
Carys trained at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Her theatre credits include Dracula (Blue Orange), Peter Pan (Hurricane), Crimes of the Heart (RBC), As You Like It (RBC) and Pride and Prejudice (RBC). Her film credits include Wild Hunt (Harm's Way), All That You Love Will Be Carried Away (Harm's Way) and Magpie (Hannant).
For Stan's Cafe she was part of the 2020 revival of Home Of The Wriggler which held many close family resonances. She was also part of the devising/performing team that made For Quality Purposes.
Mike Kirchner (performer)
Mike is a performer and producer and was a regular with Talking Birds. For Stan's Cafe he gave a fantastically committed performance in The Carrier Frequency and has been a stalwart touring with It's Your Film and Of All The People In All The World. Read Mike's essay
Vimal Korpal (performer)
Vimal is an actor and radio host who has performed with many theatre companies across the midlands. For Stan's Cafe he has worked on R&D for The Capital, the 2019 revival of It's Your Film and Everyone's Business (a performance for Birmingham University's Business School).
Hema Mangoo (performer)
Hema studied acting at East 15 before working as an actor in TV and theatre. She has worked for Tamasha Theatre Company, Women & Theatre, Kali Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. For Stan's Cafe she devised and performed in The Capital and was part of the 2020 revival of Home Of The Wriggler.
Sipho Eric Ndlovu (performer)
Sipho is a poet, performer, youth engagement consultant, graduate of Sheffield University and member of Beatfreeks. With Stan's Cafe he has performed Of All The People In All The World and contributed to the company's Creative Learning programme including work on Trailblazers.
Ray Newe (deviser / performer)
A graduate of Lancaster University. Ray devised and performed in key shows in the early days as the company was finding its voice. His work for Stan's Cafe includes: Bingo In The House Of Babel, Voodoo City and Dead Body. Ray has gone on to perform on TV and with The Liverpool Playhouse and The National Theatre. He as also appeared in The Cleansing of Constance Brown.
Lucy Nicholls (creative learning producer / performer)
Lucy auditioned for Of All The People In All The World in Birmingham 2008 and has toured regularly with this show. She was in the original production of The Just Price of Flowers and made Come Together with the company along with Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. Lucy has great experience facilitating other people making theatre and has contributed to Stan's Cafe's Creative Learning Programme for a number of years including directing adapting and directing The Tempest with Saltley Academy. In 2017 she won an Arts Council England Change Makers award in partnership with Stan's Cafe and spent 18 months, running the company's Creative Learning program which she expanded to include Drama Clubs and developing the company's links with communities in the Hodge Hill area of Birmingham. Lucy has now returned to working freelance.
Gareth Nicholls (performer)
After training at Guildhall, Gareth first came to Birmingham in 2002 to appear in The Diary of Anne Frank as part of Jonathan Church's debut season at the REP - and he stayed in the city to begin making and presenting his own work as one half of Little Earthquake.
Gareth joined Stan's to don his brown coat for Of All The People In All The World in Perth and for its 10th anniversary homecoming in Birmingham. Stan Work: Of All The People In All The World, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun
Jake Oldershaw (deviser / performer)
Studied at Dartington College of Arts. Worked as a freelance performer/deviser for Wendy Houstoun, Kaos Theatre, Reckless Sleepers and BBC Radio. Jake's own work ranges from one to one performance (Intimate History) to street intervention (The M5 Talent Squad) to photographic work (Midland Aquaphiliacs, Re-Inventing the Wheel). He is now Artistic Director of Untied Artists Jake's Website
Stan Work: Simple Maths, The Carrier Frequency, It's Your Film (touring), The Black Maze (touring), Of All The People In All The World, City Adventure, The Cleansing Of Constance Brown and Twilightofthefreakingods.
Bhati Patel (performer)
Bhati has one of the longest CVs in the Stan's Cafe team. She has worked as an actor and deviser with many, many companies in the West Midlands Region and Nationally. In recent years she has become of the BBC continuing drama Doctors. Her involvement with Stan's Cafe started when she replaced Bernadette in Home of the Wriggler through 2009 (she later took Amanda's role), she has toured with Of All The People In All The World and played the banker in the original cast of The Just Price of Flowers.
Jan Pearson (deviser / performer)
We brought Jan back to her native West Midlands to devise and perform in The Cleansing Of Constance Brown. Jan has worked with most of the country's most respected theatre companies and organisations since the mid 1980s, including amongst others Insomniac Productions, Rose English, Gary Stevens, Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey The R.S.C., The Royal Court, Paines Plough, The National Theatre Of Scotland and Scarlet Theatre. She is also a very successful TV actor with appearances in Silent Witness, The Bill, Where The Heart Is, Holby City and for many years has been a star of Doctors.
Louisa Pearson (performer)
Louisa toured with Of All The People In All The World.
Rochi Rampal (deviser / performer)
Rochi first collaborated with James whilst she was still at school, devising and performing in No Walls Just Doors as part of Stage2 youth theatre. She is now a freelance performer working regularly with companies around the Midlands. Her full Stan's Cafe debut was in The Cardinals. Since then she has also appeared in Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious, Living Toys and Twilightofthefreakingods, devised The Anatomy of Melancholy, took a lead role in The Voyage, more recently she has joined the Of All The People In All The World team and partners Craig in the 25th Anniversary show Time Critical.
Kerrie Reading (performer)
As a post-graduate at the University of Kent Kerrie sat in on rehearsals for The Cleansing of Constance Brown becoming an unofficial production assistant. Subsequently she auditioned for Of All The People In All The World and has performed that show on many occasions. She has contributed to Stan's Cafe's creative learning program and performed in the original version of The Just Price of Flowers as well as Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. She left the midlands to gain her PhD. She now lectures in performance.
Graeme Rose (deviser / performer / education leader)
Founded Stan's Cafe with James in 1991. They worked closely together until late 1995 when Graeme joined the company's board and formed a new company, The Resurrectionists, with Richard Chew. He returned as an Associate Artist in 1999, devised Lurid and Insane in 2001 and took a post as half of the education team 2005-2007. Graeme continues to perform with a range of companies including Bodies In Flight, Red Shift, Talking Birds, Black Country Touring and Kindle as well as directing his own work and producing projects with The Resurrectionists.
Selected Stan Work: Perry Como, Memoirs Of An Amnesiac, Canute the King, Voodoo City, Framed, It's Your Film (touring), The Black Maze (touring), The Carrier Frequency, Lurid and Insane, Of All The People In All The World (touring), The Cleansing Of Constance Brown, Tuning Out With Radio Z (touring), The Cardinals. The Commentators, The Voyage, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Noise into Notes, Living Toys, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun, The Camp and Siegfried in Twilightofthefreakingods.
Bernadette Russell (deviser / performer)
Bernadette first worked with Stan's Cafe on Framed in 2000. Since then she has become a regular collaborator on shows and workshops. Bernadette is co-Artistic Director of White Rabbit, producing long running story telling cabaret "Are You Sitting Comfortably?" which has a residency at Toynbee Studios and has also performed at National Theatre, Thames Festival, Diamond Jubilee Pageant and Jackson's Lane amongst others. She has performed her solo shows "The Lost Property Office", "Somniloquy" and "The Parlour of Lady Indigo" at National Theatre, Freud Museum, Brighton Festival, and Duckies. She has worked with a range of other companies including People Show,David Gale, Penny Dreadful, Gerry Pilgrim, Shunt and Wet Picnic. She was commissioned to write the last two Penny Dreadful plays "The Missionary's Position" and "Etherdome" and Wet Picnic's "Death and Gardening". Her short stories are published by Ether and Pulp Press. She is resident compere for The Cheek Of It! cabaret at Madam Jojos. Her project 366 Days Of Kindness is on-going.
Stan Work: Framed, Home Of The Wriggler, The Cleansing Of Constance Brown, Of All The People In All The World (touring), The Just Price of Flowers (touring), Tuning Out With Radio Z (touring).
Benny Semp (performer)
A graduate of Dartington College Of Arts and founder member of Hamfisted! Benny first worked with Stan's Cafe creating People's Radio Freedom for Lurid and Insane with Jonny O'Hanlon. Benny has subsequently left Hamfisted! and is a freelance teacher and performer. He has toured with Stan's Cafe on The Black Maze, It's Your Film and Of All The People In All The World and still contributes to the company's Creative Learning work.
Nick Tigg (performer)
A People Show regular, Nick has made a number of showings in The Cleansing Of Constance Brown. He also performed for us in a secret corporate launch event. He has his own excellent company Slot Machine.
Jack Trow (performer)
Jack first appeared with Stan's Cafe as a boy in a Stage2 youth theatre production of Claire Dowie's Adult Child/Dead Child, adapted and directed by James. After training at Rose Bruford Jack is now a freelance actor and has become a regular touring with Of All The People In All The World, The Black Maze, The Just Price of Flowers, It's Your Film and The Cleansing of Constance Brown. He won 24 Hour Scalextric and appears in Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun and was Hagen in Twilightofthefreakingods. He is a regular member of the company's Creative Learning team. His experience as Duty Manager at BAC and MAC was regularly deployed at the company's venue @ A E Harris before it was demolished.
Lexia Tomlinson (performer / creative learning)
Lexia is a poet and actor, a graduate of the National Youth Theatre and Birmingham Metropolitan Academy of Performing Arts. She has worked with the RSC, The REP and BBC as well as the feature film Teriyaan Meriyaan Hera Pheriyaan. For Stan's Cafe Lexia has devised and performed in For Quality Purposes as well as leading Creative Learning work.
Alexis Tuttle (performer)
Alexis is a Manchester based actress who has mixed television and film with her theatre work. With Stan's Cafe she played make-up artist Sue in Made Up. You can see more of her work on her website.
Charlotte Vincent (performer)
Artistic Director of Vincent Dance Theatre Charlotte performed in the Stan's Cafe restaging of The Carrier Freuency and led the cast in vigorous physical warm ups.
Elexi Walker (performer)
Elexi is an experienced performer, specialising in working with writers on the premiere performances of their new plays. She first worked with Stan's Cafe in 2020 recording Inside* for Billesley Primary School. She took on many roles in Macbeth (2021) directed in part by students at Saltley Academy and performed The Volgar as part of River Tours in Cotteridge Park.
Nick Walker (performer / deviser)
Nick devised and performed in Simple Maths and Good and True and has toured with It's Your Film and Of All The People In All The World. Nick was a founder member of Coventry based Talking Birds. He is a freelance director, writer and acclaimed writer with two published novels and a range of work broadcast on BBC Radio. Read Nick's essay
Andy Watson (deviser / performer)
The charismatic front man for Lurid and Insane and a reliably committed touring man. Andy has a background in experimental performance working with a range of companies including Insomniac and Eddie Ladd, alongside his own work, much of which is now legendary. Andy continues to create his own music and performance work, including collaborations with Nina. Read Andy's essay
Stan Work: Lurid and Insane, The Black Maze (touring), It's Your Film (touring), The Cleansing Of Constance Brown.
Simon Webb (deviser / performer)
A musician and visual artist Simon played the drums and so much more in Lurid and Insane.
Laura Wynter (deviser / creative learning)
Laura studied drama at Staffordshire University before becoming an actor and educator. She has performed with the RSC, Big Wheel Theatre Company and Disneyland - Hong Kong. With Stan's Cafe Laura has toured extensively with Of All The People In All The World and helped devise Banana Pyjama Ninja with Saltley Academy.
Luanda Yasmin (performer)
Luanda is a graduate of the National Youth Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre's Actors Foundry. She has performed for Women & Theatre, The REP and numerous short films. She is also a poet and makes YouTube videos on trending topics, motivation and the experiences of marginalised communities. For Stan's Cafe Luanda has devised and performed in The Capital and For Quality Purposes.
Richard Chew (composer / musician)
Birmingham born composer, pianist and singer Richard was an integral element of Stan's Cafe in the formative years, composing a series of stunning soundtracks for Perry Como's Christmas Cracker, Memoirs Of An Amnesiac, Bingo In The House Of Babel Voodoo City and Still. Since then he has formed The Resurrectionists with Graeme Rose and The Shout with Orlando Gough. Rick is a trained opera singer and now lives in Australia and is working as a full time composer. Commissioned with Ian Dixon to write some raw material for The Cleansing of Constance Brown this work is sampled the show's final track.
Christine Cornwell & Luke Deane (composer / musicians)
Graduates of Birmingham Conservertoire and now working in The Netherlands, Chrissy and Luke compose and play individually and as a partnership as well as working with Wastepaper Opera Company. For Stan's Cafe they have worked on Any Fool Can Start A War, numerous Saltley Academy Shakespeare projects and created the theme for the on-line Anatomy Of Melancholy series.Luke's website.
Peter Maxwell-Dixon (sound artist)
Peter studied composition at Birmingham Conservertoire. He works as a creative sound engineer and composer, working with installation and on-line as well as with live music. He also specialises in Internet Radio and has his own mobile recording studio operating under the name Bassnote. With Stan's Cafe Peter has keen key in keeping The Commentators audible live and online, he has also contributed his School Radio skills to the company's Creative Learning programme.
Brian Duffy (composer / musician)
Described by Mute magazine as a "national treasure" Brian is the artist leader of the acclaimed MODIFIED TOY ORCHESTRA and member of the Sinclair Spectrum Orchestra. Brian is a NESTA Fellow and impossibly clever. He first worked for Stan composing the soundtracks for two of the company's youth theatre shows, No Walls, Just Doors and Adult Child/Dead Child before moving onto the radio piece So Bring Me Down and the soundtrack to Good and True. Brian did an exceptional job as musical director for Lurid and Insane and wrote music in a Weil style to go with Craig's lyrics for the two songs in The Just Price of Flowers. He also worked alongside composer Giles Perrin on the music and sound design for SONIC JOURNEY
Jony Easterby (sound artist)
Musician, sound and visual artist Jony Easterby worked with Brian creating So Bring Me Down and composed the soundtrack to the Head to Head video.
Joanna Karselis (composer / musician)
Jo is a singer-songwriter who also composes music for films. With Stan's Cafe she created the soundtrack for Ziggi Doesn't Hate and Merchant of Venice with Saltley Academy. You can hear more about her on her website.
Giles Perrin (composer / musician)
Giles is a composer and musician. His first work with Stan's Cafe was creating the soundtrack for the film Framed. Since then he has wokred on Carnival education projects and was musical director for SONIC JOURNEY
Jon Ward (composer / musician / software engineer)
Jon's interest in manipulating music, voices and ambient sounds started with jumble sale tape machines and is currently pursued using computers, samplers and esoteric electronic devices. His occasional work for BBC News enables him to make field recordings from around the globe. Jon's Site - ditdotdat
Stan Work: Voodoo City (engineer), Bingo (Engineer), Simple Maths (composer), Pieces for the Radio Volume 1, Of All The People In All The World (signalnet composer), The Commentators (engineer). Most recently Jon has combined his composing and computational skills to become much of the cleaverness behind Tuning Out With Radio Z. Years ago he built this great micro-site allowing people to construct their own versions of our performance text Bleak Heart Driver.
Nina West (composer / performer)
Nina was tracked down after a demo track was heard on a compilation CD at a party. With Jane Webster she recorded a rich, evocative soundtrack for Ocean of Storms; a section of which was later appropriated as the soundtrack to It's Your Film. Her skills as a performer and live musician were key to Lurid and Insane and later she demonstrated her instinctive understanding of how sound works in theatre when composing for Be Proud Of Me. She composed the soundtrack for The Cleansing Of Constance Brown for which she is the only team member to have been present at every performance. She wrote the monumental soundtrack for Twilightofthefrekingods in three weeks and has created the sound worlds for both A Translation of Shadows and Made Up. When required she supplies soundscapes for The Steps Series. You can discover more about her other work by visiting Nina's Site
Read Nina's essay
Michael Wolters (composer)
Michael is a composer whose works have been performed ad at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the ISCM World Music Days in Manchester (with Isobel Bowler), Spitalfields Festival (with Isobel Bowler), the Barbican Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Tate Liverpool and various other concert halls, festivals, supermarkets, art galleries, shoe shops, theatres, banks, opera houses, in cafes, on beaches, in cinemas, on the radio, on TV; in the UK, Germany, lots of other European places, in Russia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.
He is a founding member of the artists’ collective New Guide to Opera, is one half of Difficult Listening and Deputy Head of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire. With Stan's Cafe he has composed I See With My Eyes Closed and The Voyage.
You can find out more about his work on his
Mark Anderson (sculptor / sound artist)
Mark created The Black Maze with Craig and James as an equal partner in aesthetic discussions and as leader of the engineering, in both its first flat packed incarnation and then in the lorry. He played a similar role in Broadway Hertz and was commissioned as designer/builder for Home of the Wriggler along with Helen Ingham. He has helped out on various education projects, is regularly called on for advice and co-created Suzie Small Lifts A Car with James.
Mark was a founder member of the acclaimed multi-media performance group Blissbody , he contiues to make spectacular work including the internationally acclaimed collaboration Power Plant.
Paul Arvidson (lighting designer)
Paul has designed and toured lighting with companies to France, Israel and the United States. He has lectured in lighting at Lancaster University and ran his own companies P.A.Lights and Mulberry Grove doing large and small scale corporate work. He is a qualified pyrotechnician and regularly lit and blew up Stan's Cafe between 1994 and 2011. He now writes Science Fiction in Somerset surrounded by his family and lots of chickens.
Stan Work: Bingo, Voodoo City, Ocean of Storms, The Carrier Frequency, Good and True, The Black Maze, Lurid and Insane, Be Proud Of Me, Framed, The Cleansing Of Constance Brown, Tuning Out With Radio Z, The Cardinals.
Simon Bond (lighting designer)
Simon is resident lighting designer at The REP in Birmingham. He first worked with Stan's Cafe relighting The Just Price of Flowers for its revival with The REP. He has subsequently also designed for Finger Trigger Bullet Gun and Made Up.
Maxene Brown (illustrator)
Maxene graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a first class degree in illustration then during in a brief internship designed cards that went into production with Hallmark. On moving to Birmingham she was promptly commissioned by students at Billesly Primary School to collaborate with them (and us) on the book What Is A School. After this Maxene also worked with us on an animation project about maths with Rednal Infant School and Nursery Class. You can see lots more of Maxene's work on her website.
Miguel Angel Giglio Bravo (artist / designer)
Chilean-Italian designer who created the set for Simple Maths in 1997 and thirteen years later returned in trumph from his home in Rome to design and paint all the fantastic scenary for The Cardinals.
Oliver Clark (video maker)
Oliver has made and edited episodes of many highly popular and successful televisions documentary series. Through his company FCNK he also specialises in making films for and documenting performance events. He made the film that drives A Translation of Shadows and the video/green screen elements of Made Up, he has also documented many of the company's shows
Gareth Courage (graphic designer)
Gareth is almost the only graphic designer to break Simon Ford's monopolistic grip on this aspect of the company's work. Inspired by his art works we commissioned him to design the map for Trailblazers, work with Brookfields Primary on their Big City Writing poetry newspaper and University of Birmingham's Eye of a Poet newspaper. He also works regularly on our Creative Learning projects.
As part time lecturer in Illustration at the Birmingham City University Gareth organised his first year students to generate illustrations for the front covers of a big set of Stan's Cafe scripts, the resulting exhibition, entitled The Something of Somebody Something was hung at @AE Harris the books are expected to be printed in early 2019.
Phil Coy (visual artist)
Visual artist Phil made props for Ocean Of Storms. Phil's Website
Yinka Danmole (artist / designer / architect)
Yinka studied architecture in Birmingham. In 2017 he was the Centenary RSA Young Fellow, between 2014 and 2017 he was the Live Ultd Award Winner and in 2019 was designer in residence at the Design Museum in London. Yinka curates and designs cultural events collaborating with artists from across disciplines. For Stan's Cafe he designed our Flat Pack Stage with students of Billesley Primary School as his clients. He then designed our tented structure for The Camp. Studio Danmole (Yinka's professional website)
Mick Diver (lighting designer)
Mick is semi-resident technician @ A E Harris and his hard work helped transform a factory workshop into something resembling a theatre space. He has designed lighting for Noise into Notes, Living Toys, Pathways and Places and Twilightofthefreakingods. He toured with The Anatomy of Melancholy and A Translation Of Shadows.
Nigel Edwards (lighting designer)
Nigel has been designing the lighting for Forced Entertainment for the past 23 years and the last 13 years with Michael Laub/Remote Control. He is also the regular designer for Ryuichi Sakamoto and Diamanda Galas and the recent work by Wendy Houstoun. Other work he is pleased with were premieres of Cleansed, Crave, 4.48 Psychosis, Dirty Butterfly, Stoning Mary plus Roberto Zucco for the RSC and Jenufa for WNO. He also designed the lighting for The Anatomy of Melancholy.
Simon Ford (graphic designer / deviser)
One of the gang of Lancaster University graduates on which Stan's Cafe is based, Simon and James have been collaborating since 1988, when Simon did both stage and graphic design for a number of student shows. Simon now has his own graphic design business F22 Design where works in collaboration with Eamon Feeney on Stan's Cafe requirements including the initial design of this website. He has also done education work for the company. In recent years his collaboration with the company has moved to a different level as he has become a lynch-pin of The Steps Series team on location and collaborated with James making What When for Theater Bonn.
Simon Gowan (lighting designer)
Did a heroic job designing and installing lighting for Canute the King in Moseley Road Baths. He then designed the lighting for and toured with Simple Maths.
Helen Ingham (visual artist / costume maker)
Helen designed the set and made the set and costmes for Lurid and Insane and with Mark Anderson designed the costumes, set and power generating machines for Home Of The Wriggler. Helen has also led a number of workshops for us and worked on The School Rulers project.
Johnny O'Hanlon (deviser / maker)
Co-founder and now artistic director of Birmingham based theatre company HAMFISTED!. Johnny first worked with Stan's Cafe creating People's Radio Freedom. He has also toured with The Black Maze and worked on Of All The People In All The World and City Adventure Days. He is a regular collaborator on our Creative Learning work, including a landmark Marble Run at Billesley Primary School.
Billy Hiscoke (stage manager)
Billy won out at interview for the formidable job as Stage Manager for The Cleansing of Constance Brown. He as also helped out the company with work on Final Steps, 24 Hour Scalextric, Of All The People In All The World and It's Your Film.
Helen Kelly (visual artist)
Video and visual artist Helen made props for Ocean Of Storms and has worked on a number of education projects including A Delicate Balance.
Lottie Leedham (maker)
Made props for Framed and for the IETM Courtesy Car.
Bob Moulder (illustrator)
Bob studied art at Watford and Belfast universities and has worked as a professional illustrator for thirty years. He is the illustrator of numerous books and leads illustration/drawing workshops with students. For Stan's Cafe Bob has run revision workshops, illustrated a probability challenge, done visioning for an as yet unrealised project Ocean Brain and contributed to the Trailblazers project. You can see some of Bob's work here.
Ben Pacey (lighting designer)
Renaissance Man Ben does lots of things, including designing lighting, which he did for A Translation of Shadows. Ben's Website
Reel Access (video makers)
Artistic Director George Fleming and his team at Reel Access have worked on various education projects for the company, particularly in Billesley Primary School. They responded to the challenge of making a video version of Twilightofthefreakingods with a fabulous piece of video art that we haven't yet managed to show to enough people.
Ana Rutter (designer / maker)
Ana is a Fine Art Graduate of U.C.E. and more recently a Master Of Art. Ana is a sculptor and video artist with considerable experience of working in education settings and a history of work in carnival. She first worked with Stan's Cafe on the animated film Head to Head and took a half time post as half of the education team in January 2005. This post came to an end in September 2007. She made a number of props for The Cleansing of Constance Brown. She continues to produce and exhibit her own work in both group and solo exhibitions. In 2013 she collaborated with the company making "Everyone Born In The UK: 1947" commissioned by the V&A for their David Bowie is... exhibition.
Karen Stafford (production manager)
After working principally in project management and marketing for a series of organisations including: Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Be In Birmingham 2008, Birmingham City Council and Fierce, Karen was given a one-off contract as production manager for Of All The People In All The World in Stuttgart. She fitted perfectly into the team and was asked to return as the company's full time production manager with additional input into show marketing. With less touring in 2008 Karen left to bigger and even better things. Karen's travel lust made her the ideal person to take the Stan's Cafe off on tour. In 2007 she took on the significant challenge of sourcing all the props required for The Cleansing of Constance Brown. She takes photographs and is too modest about her skills in this area. She left Stan's Cafe in 2007 to work for Greenbelt.
Denise Stanton (sculptor)
Denise is an fantastic sculptor and costume maker: for Stan's Cafe she is the 'go to' person for work devising/installing The Steps Series including an heroic stint installing and maintaining Shakespeare Steps in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Her sculptural costumes were used for the leads in Twilightofthefreakingods and she collaborated with Kay Wilton designing costumes for The Camp. She collaborated on Provocation #1 and is occasionally involved in the company's Creative Learning work, including producing an amazing Carnival with Rowley Park Academy. You can see her other work here.
Harry Trow (designer / maker / stage manager)
Harry graduated in Theatre Design from Nottingham Trent University in 2010. He has worked in design and stage management departments a Birmingham Opera Company where he was also Assistant Designer on Stokchausen's Mittwoch Aus Licht . He co-designed For Their own Good, by Untied Artists. His TV work includes making props and puppets for Adastra's Grandpa in My Pocket, The Ha Ha Hairies and many more productions coming out of Cardiff including Dr. Who where he has taken recent responsibility for the TARDIS
Harry built and sourced props for The Cardinals, worked as Stage Manager for The Cleansing of Constance Brown, redesigned elements of The Just Price of Flowers, designed The Voyage, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Noise into Notes and most recently Made Up.
Kay Wilton (costume designer / maker)
Kay lives in Birmingham, has worked for Birmingham Royal Ballet and is now works almost full time at Birmingham Repertory Theatre as a costume and hat designer and maker. She made all the period costumes for The Cleansing Of Constance Brown and at incredible speed dressed the whole of The Cardinals and Any Fool Can Start A War, she designed costumes for The Anatomy of Melancholy, coordinated costuming for Noise into Notes and dressed Billesley School's comic strip version of Treasure Island. She made a new costume for Brünhilde on stage each night of Twilightofthefreakingods and collaborated with Denise on costumes for The Camp. Further examples of her other work can be seen Here.
Andy Whiteoak (make-up artist)
When The REP Birmingham commissioned Made Up, a show placing the make up process centre stage, they recommended Andy, their long time resident make-up artist who had turned freelance a year earlier. Andy was central to Made Up bringing his experience on film and television sets to the show, as well as his teaching experience and great knowledge of theatre. Andy's Website.
Jaskirt Boora (photographer)
Jaskirt is an acclaimed portrait photographer based in the Black Country. She teaches photography and regularly works under commission, including work for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. She started working with Stan's Cafe in 2021. She has taken portraits of Billesley Primary School students for their Cereal Box project Inside*. She aslo documented River Tours in Cotteridge Park.
Graeme Braidwood (photographer)
Graeme became Stan's Cafe's principle production photographer in 2009 though impressing the company with his photographs of The Just Price of Flowers. This is his website.
Ed Dimsdale (photographer)
Ed took most of Stan's production photographs between 1999 and 2009 and still collaborates with the company. He also took all the slides that provided the backdrop to Be Proud Of Me and contributed key images to Tuning Out With Radio Z. Ed has worked on a number of education projects including School Rulers, Fruit and Veg Cities, Take It! and A Delicate Balance. Some of Ed's non-Stan photography can be found HERE
Kate Green (photographer)
Kate is a photographer who specialises in participatory projects. She as at the core of the Stan's Cafe team that delivered Trailblazers with 20 schools across Birmingham. Subsequently she has undertaken numerous commissions for the company's Creative Learning work. Kate's website.
Ming De Nasty (photographer)
A sensational photographer, Ming is our number one documenter of Creative Learning work. She was central to the Treasure Island photo-story we created with Year 2 at Billesley Primary School. You can find Ming's portfolio here.
Joseph Potts (film maker)
Birmingham based film maker Joseph did on the hoof editing for Framed, has worked with us on a number of film education projects and has provided video documentation for many of the company's shows.
Anupam Singha (photographer)
Production photos for Voodoo City.
Mark Taylor (photographer)
Stan's photographer from 1995-1998, responsible for amongst other things great pre-production shots for Voodoo City and Ocean Of Storms
Nick Sweeting (advisor)
Nick acted as Advisory Producer for Stan's Cafe from 2003-2013. His first contact with the company was in the mid '90s doing consultation work for Arts Council England, intermittent contact developed into a committed ongoing relationship. Nick helped the company greatly though a significant period of evolution and remains a key soundboard for the company and is currently working with us as a producer.
He was a founder member of and Producer for Improbable he now works principally for the Javaad Alipoor Company.
Charlotte Martin (general manager)
Charlotte started her journey to Stan's Cafe with a degree in Business Law and postrgraduate diploma in Museum Studies. She first worked for rock promoters Clear Channel Entertainment, before working in various capacities for the Arts Department at Birmingham City Council, Fierce Earth, Cambridge Film Festival and Audiences Central. She joined Stan's Cafe in 2005 and left in January 2015 having made an incredible impact on the company.
Roisin Caffrey (executive producer)
Roisin grew up in Birmingham and returned to the city in April 2015 to take up her post at Stan's Cafe as joint CEO. She previously worked in the team that delivered Royal de Luxe's The Giants for Perth International Arts Festival and for Darwin Festival. She has been Executive Producer at NIE, General Manager of Cheek by Jowl and held posts at the Gate Theatre Notting Hill, Theatre-Rites, mac and Birmingham Conservatoire, as well as producing several freelance projects. She has a BA Hons in French & Philosophy from the University of Leeds and the CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing.
Whilst at Stan's Cafe she became Chair of Culture Central and was a member of the More Than a Moment steering group, who are working for radical change for the Black creative workforce. She left in 2021 to take on new projects with contemporary artists and organisations, including as Strategic Producer for Selina Thompson Ltd.
Jaki Booth (former Chair)
Alan James (former Chair)
Gwen Van Spijk (former Chair)
Dorothy Wilson (former Chair)
Read about Stan's Cafe's commitment to equality, access and inclusion via this link.
Stan's Cafe is a Not for Profit Company Limited by Guarantee.
In March 2002 Stan's Cafe secured Key Regional Organisation (KRO) status with West Midlands Arts. This three year agreement was the first stable funding arrangement in the company's history. It was used to supplement an income generated through performances, education projects, speaking engagements and the hire of high end video gear we acquired through a capital arts lottery bid in 1996.
The stability and flexibility introduced by KRO money helped us take calculated risks and back hunches. One of the first results was the ability to respond quickly to an idea and buy 1,000kg of rice for an experimental piece called 'Of All The People In All The World', this show has since repaid this investment many times over. By 2007 KRO had become RFO (Regularly Funded Organisation) status and the grant had crept up to a little over £50,000, representing approximately 1/8th of the company's turnover. This ratio was acknowledged by the Arts Council as reflecting excellent value and when all RFOs had their funding reviewed in late 2007 early 2008 we were rewarded with increased investment, just topping £100,000 in 2008/9. Since then the company has survived the termoil of 2011 to become a NPO (National Portfolio Organisation) at Arts Council England.
This increased investment is to allow us to increase our capacity to deliver our shows, which usefully fit well with the Arts Council's current priorities of innovation and excellence. We don't take this money for granted and will continue to be vigilant and creative as to how we get best value from it, so the public's money will be seen to have been invested wisely in us. We are grateful to everyone who has paid their taxes and bought their lottery tickets. We won't let you down.