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Life a Sport/Art

Wednesday, May 5th, 2021

Last year they missed the postponement message and turned up to commentate on an empty Moseley Private Park. This year The Commentators got the ‘It’s On!’ message and will be at the same venue on 3rd & 4th September to bring live commentary of the Moseley Folk and Arts Festival to people attending the Moseley Folk and Arts Festival, plus people around the world tuned into the live stream.

For those new to their peculiarities – The Commentators were once regulars on Match Of The Day. Now, as sheepskin has been replaced by goretex, so The Commentators have been replaced by less natural fibres. With no glamour sporting gigs coming in they have been forced to deploy thier niche skills on non-sporting gigs, such as Folk & Arts Festivals. Unfortunately they struggle to see life as anything other than sport, so they bring a peculiar perspective to a relaxing day in a field listening to great music.

There is a full essay setting out the origins and art behind The Commentators here:

http://www.stanscafe.co.uk/helpfulthings/essays-the-commentators.html

Wanted: Textile Artist

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021
Photo credit: Graeme Braidwood

Opportunity for a Textile Artist: Upstream of Tomorrow
Stan’s Cafe theatre company is looking to collaborate with a Textile Artist on the research and development phase of a new theatre show, for indoors and outdoors performance.

Central to the performance will be fabric ribbon maps. The Textile Artist will work in dialogue with the show’s writing and directing team to develop design ideas for how geographic features and story elements are represented on each map, and will source the materials and make the completed fabric maps.


Please see the job pack for further information and how to apply.

Fee: £2,000

Deadline for applications: Monday 19 April at midday 

Stan’s Cafe’s objective to produce excellent work rests on working with company members who are representative of the full diversity of contemporary UK, and we are committed to equal opportunities for all staff and applicants.

Some of my best friends are Storytellers

Friday, March 19th, 2021
just another old geyser letting off steam

Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends are storytellers, but there is nothing in the world (apart from quite a lot of things) that I hate more than a smug celebrity at an awards ceremony on stage telling the assembled masses how special they are because they are all ‘storytellers’.

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Haunted Joy Gaze

Friday, March 12th, 2021
Image credits: Ed Dimsdale

Haunted joy gaze
Vital banana grip
Warm death floating
Yellow sea day


I have just repaired a link to the micro-site that helps everyone write performance texts like our Bleak Heart Driver (which appears on Pieces For The Radio Vol.1). It is fun to use; you type in four three word phrases and the site performs a beautiful little dance converting these into 16 stanzas of automatic writing, little pills of nonesense, humour, poigniancy or enigmatic menace. Give it a go, or read on to see how Vital Banana Gaze works out…

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Robert Ball

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

I admire people who make things happen, who seize an idea and galvanise those around them to bring that idea to life. This is an act of optimism, a feat of will and a triumph of energy over the status quo. Robert Ball was one of these people and so to learn today of his recent death is especially sad.

In 2012 Robert founded FRED to create new theatre and stage classic theatre in fresh ways. Their first production was The Merchant Of Venice, which they staged across three spaces in our sprawling industrial venue @ A E Harris. The production zipped along with verve, humour and tight focus, it was well received and launched the company to produce a further 30 or so productions in a mere eight years – a prodigious output that included performances going into schools and care homes to reach as many people as possible.

Robert was a Shakespeare specialist but also a general theatre lover, excited to commission new writing, revive a long lost Restoration Comedy – The Dutch Lady and rock up at other people’s shows. Slipping in and out of Robert’s technical rehearsals and witnessing FRED before and after their productions, you couldn’t help but be uplifted by their shared sense of enterprise, mutual support, seriousness and good humour.

It was always a happy coincidence to bump into Robert, an intelligent, highly principled and scrupulously polite man. An enthusiast, a man who made things happen and someone who will be sadly missed.

Our sympathy goes out to all those close to him whose lives were lifted by his presence and will be deminished by his absence.

For Quality Purposes (11th August)

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

We hope you’ve been enjoying our season of online work, Stan’s Internet Cafe. Coming up next is For Quality Purposes …

For Quality Purposes is set in a Dispersed Universal Call Centre where call handlers, working from home, field enquiries from customers with a vast range of queries in areas they are rarely trained for, or qualified to deal with. Our heroes are often left floundering but cheeriness is their default setting and they work hard to find solutions to the many problems they are asked to solve.

Funny, touching and thoughtful, For Quality Purposes was devised online and will be streamed on the Stan’s Cafe Theatre YouTube Channel on 11th August, at 19.30 BST (Running Time: 25 minutes)

The Anatomy Of Melancholy: Episode 28

Tuesday, July 28th, 2020


This version is captioned, a non-captioned can be found here.

I love everything about this episode, it is possibly my favourite of the full 35.

I love the argument about the virtue of poverty and the conclusion that this can easily be argued by those who are not poor, but only carries legitimacy from those who are – which calls to mind Marx and historically the great wealth of monasteries, the popes and established religion.

I love the hight of luxury being epitomised as a cloak made from the beards of giants – though personally I’d not find such an item psychologically comfortable.

Most of all I love the consoling words in the final section. I love them as a form of poetry and as a reassuring message. In this performance we were privileged to have an unexpected guest star who make her unscheduled appearance at an extraordinarily appropriate moment. If this doesn’t make you well up then you don’t need to be watching video adaptations about a book helping you avoid melancholy, you need to be seeking counciling for those who have lost their very soul.

The Commentators live from MoFo

Saturday, August 31st, 2019

The Commentators on Mixlr

It’s that time of year again – the cricket season is nearly over, the football season is well underway, suitcases are being unpacked, school bags are being repacked, leaves are beginning to turn, the nights are drawing in, there’s a chill in the evening air and from all over the world musicians and artists gather in a park in the heart of Birmingham to perform at the Moseley Folk and Arts Festival. The festival know that not everyone can attend in person and so again this year have hired the services of The Commentators who will be broadcasting live on Saturday and Sunday to bring you all the sights, sounds and picnic smells from the heart of the festival site.

It’s the perfect way to say goodbye to the summer…listen on the player above or click on the link to visit The Commentators mixlr page.

Recruiting a Re-lighter for The Capital

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018

We are recruiting a Re-lighter for the tour of our new show The Capital at the beginning of 2019.

Dates:
To be available for 2 days between 23 -27 October 2018 in Birmingham to learn
the show’s requirements from the lighting designer at Birmingham REP.

The production will undertake a UK tour for 2 or 3 weeks during the period 28 January to 17 February 2019; exact tour dates to be confirmed.

Deadline for Submissions: 24 July 2018 by 5pm

Read more about the requirements and how to apply below:

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The Commentators at Birmingham Weekender

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017

If you can’t be at Birmingham Weekender today you can listen live to The Commentators as they cover all the action from the Birmingham markets. They will bring you detailed coverage of the buying and selling of everything from carrots to dairy based products to mobile phone covers and be there to witness whatever other incidents a market Saturday might throw up.

Keep it here … The Commentators at Birmingham Weekender


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