Welcome to Stan's Cafe

Precious Emily

March 22nd, 2022

We very excited to have been commissioned by and be working with Birmingham 2022 Festival on a brand new show, Precious Emily. It is about lifting up heavy things and is inspired by two very strong people: Precious Mackenzie and Emily Campbell.

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Inside* with Billesley Primary

March 17th, 2022

For a year we’ve been working with our partners at Billesley Primary School on a project called Inside*. It is designed to encourage students to think about and celebrate their identity and how they fit into society. The final element has just been concluded, Craig’s masterful Mr. Benn inspired collaboration with Year 1.

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Wanted (2 of 2): General Manager

January 12th, 2022

I am so pleased that you are reading this, it means you may be considering joining us in Stan’s Cafe. What might that be like?

If you become our General Manager you will be at the heart of a talented, committed and friendly core team, which works with a large and diverse network of associate artists from across a range of disciplines, all focused on creating and sharing great new art.

You don’t need to have worked in the arts before in order to be crucial to our success as together we create a startling series of playful and inventive new shows across the years ahead. You will be integral to audiences around the world experiencing some of our most loved old shows for the first time.

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Wanted (1 of 2): Producer

January 12th, 2022

Maybe you’re our new Producer but neither of us knows it yet.

When I imagine you I can’t see you but I already know some things about you and I’m excited about what Stan’s Cafe can achieve with you in our team.

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New Website

January 11th, 2022

Our first website was built at approximately the same time our local solar system was pulling itself together. The current design dragged itself from the primordial soup a decade ago. Maybe you noticed.

Now comes the good news and bad. Good news: a fresh, nice smelling, searchable website on its way. Bad news: you’re going to have to live with a few slates missing from the roof in this one and couple of windows being boarded up as well, plus the rising damp and subsidence.

The only true compensation we can offer is to take requests from you about what you’d like to see on the new site. Message us. Although it’s currently growing in a petri dish somewhere in south Birmingham it’s not too late to tweak the new site’s genetic code.

Stick with us for now and feast your eyes on this site’s clunkiness – you’ll miss it and all its delabidated grandure once we have set fire to it and burnt it to the ground in order to claim the insurance and circumnavigate the presentation order.

With love S.C.


December 7th, 2021

Clearly there are more urgent, productive and important things to do at the moment than to get lost in eight (plus) hours of live streamed chess. I know that fact in the way that I know I mustn’t close my eyes while driving dog tired on the motorway in the early hours of the morning and yet somehow knowing and making wise decisions based on that knowledge are two very different things…

Damn YouTube for having no rumble strip. Over the last few days I’ve lost a large portion of my life to watching/listening to a full re-run of Game 6 of the current World Championship, sometimes whilst accomplishing household chores but also in late night sessions of indulgence. It’s so compelling, the theory, the calculation, the speculation. The game was a record breaking epic, sensationally dramatic throughout. The commentary on Chess24.com is a revelation. While on Test Match Special commentators while away the hours by mixing the sport in with a myriad of ancillary, diversionary topics over on Chess24 they never talk about anything other than the match in hand. I love it.

I love it and recommend it, but cannot possibly allow myself to get drawn into watching Game 7 or any other.

C90 Qawwali: Emperor In Birmingham

October 31st, 2021

September 1980 singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sings Qawwali to a packed audience of dispirited factory workers in the Luxor Cinema, Stratford Road. Their fervent response pushes the soon to be legendary singer and his band to transcendental new heights, a vortex opens in space and time and everyone steps through.

C90 Qawwali: Emperor in Birmingham follows a pair of third generation Kashmiri Brummies as they circle the city’s ring road seeking to reopen that lost vortex.

Expect imagery and music, social history, pathos and some humour.

Saturday 20 November at 14:00 and 16:00
Purbanat’s Studio, 49-55 Golden Hillock Road, Birmingham, B10 0JU
Tickets free but please book in advance.

We are delighted to announce our artistic team:

Tas Bashir: Artist (Co-Director)
Gerard Bell: Actor
Nafeesa Hameed: Poet (Assistant Director)
Rupinder Kaur: Actor & Poet
Murad Khan: Writer founder Purbanat.
Muhibb Nazir: Actor
Rachel Sambrooks: Actor & Poet
Dominic Thompson: Actor & Director of Gritty Theatre
Michael Valentine West: Musician
James Yarker: (Co-Director).

All Our Money (early version)

October 30th, 2021

Each year Birmingham City Council spends more than £3,000,000,000. Where does all this money come from and how do they decide where it all goes?

We’re dramatising Birmingham City Council’s budget setting process in a show called All Our Money. This is the second show we’re making in the first three weeks of November. It’s going to be fast, funny, touching and informative. We promise you won’t see any graphs and you probably won’t even hear any numbers.

If you are at all sceptical we can turn all this into an entertaining treat we’d like point out that The Just Price Of Flowers, our explanation of the 2008 financial crisis, was one of our most popular shows and Of All The People In All The World, our dramatisation of human population statistics, has been touring for 18 years. Keep the faith and please come along to:

Saturday 13 November at 14:00 and 16:00
Great Western Arcade, Birmingham, B2 5HU
Tickets free but please book in advance.

We are delighted to announce our artistic team:

Aaron Corbett: Actor and Writer
Will Jackson: Actor and theatre maker
Owen Harper: Director of 10 Minutes Late Theatre (Assistant Director here)
Lisa McKinley: Actor and Facilitator
Katie Utting: Actor
Elexi Walker Actor and Voice over Artist
James Yarker: Director.

Precious Emily (early version)

October 29th, 2021

Precious Mckenzie became a weightlifting legend when, after an extraordinary childhood in apartheid blighted South Africa, he emigrated to England and won four consecutive Gold Medals in the Commonwealth Gold Medals.

Fifty years later, Emily Campbell steps onto the Olympic stage and, in a moment described by The Guardian as “surely [the] most powerful, heartwarming and potentially life-changing story of these Games”, she lifted more than any British woman has ever lifted before.

Next week we are spending five days making a theatre show about these two wonderful athletes and the inspiration they give us when it comes to lifting up heavy things.

This will be our first bi-lingual show as, with the support and guidance of DeafExplorer, our cast mixes deaf and hearing actors. British Sign Language will be integrated into the performance with the aspiration that formal interpretation won’t be required.

Tickets are free but are limited so please book in advance. We hope to see you…

Precious Emily (early version)
Saturday 6 November 14:00 & 16:00
Oakdale Centre, Umberslade Road, B29 7SB
Tickets Free (book in advance)

We are delighted to announce our artistic team for Precious Emily:

  • Rosie Baggott: Actor, weightlifter, yoga instructor.
  • Emily Davies: Stage manager.
  • Orique Johnson: A man of many talents, here he’s the musician.
  • Caroline Parker MBE: Actor, comedian, sign-singer.
  • Mary-Jayne Russell de Clifford: Actor, director, drama facilitator.
  • Paul ‘Steady’ Steadman: Choreographer, DJ and founder of Yugen Arts, here he’s Assistant Director.
  • Jack Trow: Actor, writer, Stan’s Cafe veteran.
  • Elexi Walker: Actor and voice-over artist.
  • Holly Williams: Actor, photographer, poet.
  • James Yarker: Director.

3 Saturdays in November (3 new shows)

October 28th, 2021

Here is the news. Across November we are opening three new shows, with three new casts, created in three consecutive weeks. Crazy? Maybe. Here’s why…

The most familiar way of making theatre is for a playwright to sit in a room scribbling before giving a script to a director and cast who then stage their words. However, there is a parallel, less heralded way of doing things in which a bunch of people get in a room together and just make it all up between them. This alternative approach is termed Devised Theatre.

There are a myriad approaches to ‘just making it all up’ but generally in devised theatre the actors and director (if there is one) take on more authorial roles, they create their own performance material and the whole group consider structure and pace, those responsibilities the playwright would normally take on.

Performing and directing in devised theatre requires some alternative skills to working on scripted pieces, so when devising companies are recruiting they are necessarily drawing on a narrower pool of talent. Gaining skills and experience in devising can be tricky, so we thought we’d do a little to help broaden that pool

Believing that the best way to learn how to devising is to devise and having some ideas for new shows we wanted to try out we determined to make a set of three new shows, fast and loose across November.

We have recruited three dynamic new teams of actors keen to develop their devising skills, supported by a stalwart Stan’s Cafe Associate Artist helping things gel. For each new production I am being supported by a Assistant Director keen to extend their devising skills in order to make their own devised work. We have even snuck in a couple of musician new to ‘this kind of thing’.

The shows should be raw, energised and a lot of fun. They are being made and performed in a three alternative venues around Birmingham. We will share details of each show over the next three days but these free tickets are on release now via Eventbrite and seats are very limited so please book yours now.

Precious Emily (early version)
Saturday 6 November 14:00 & 16:00
Oakdale Centre, Umberslade Road, B29 7SB
Tickets Free (book in advance)

All Our Money (early version)
Saturday 13 November 14:00 & 16:00
Great Western Arcade, B2 5HU
Tickets Free (book in advance)

C90 Qawwali: Emperor In Birmingham (early version)
Saturday 20 November 14:00 & 16:00
Purbanat Studio, 49-55 Golden Hillock Road, B10 0JU
Tickets Free (book in advance)

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