Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: The Value of Research


Through illicit back channels I got temporary access to a volume on the history of the Benshi in early Japanese cinema. I read it fast, taking notes and returned it whence it came before it was missed overdue. Yesterday Craig and I were in the rehearsal room running through early versions of a scene for our new show, A Translation of Shadows, we were discussing the narration we had written for one of the scenes in the film we have made. In search of clues I flicked through my notes from said book and mentioned that the Benshi always narrated their films in the past tense. We had written ours in the present tense. Hasty re-writing proved that past tense is better but being able to flick back and forth between the two is better still. So once again the value of research is proved, even very small observations like this can make a big difference.

The Official Birmingham Hippodrome Blog: Sneaky peek of cast of UK’s biggest pantomime at Birmingham Hippodrome in full costume!

Earlier this week we welcomed the full company of our pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk including our wonderful cast Jane McDonald (Enchantress)  Duncan James (Jack), Chris Gascoyne (Fleshcreep), Gary Wilmot (Dame Trot), Paul Zerdin (Simple Simon) and Matt Slack (Silly Billy) with Robyn Mellor as Princess Apricot. They started to arrive from last Sunday and once the set […]

The Other Way Works: Owl: Characteristics & Habitat

Characteristics: You’re the ultimate night owl. As the sun sets you come to life. Mornings are for lie-ins, or if you have to get up early there had better be coffee, and lots of it.

Habitat: Not often seen before midday. Usually found by night with a glass of red hidden in the depths of a wine bar.

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Charlotte’s Party

Photo: Jonathan Blackford

On Friday we threw a party for Charlotte our General Manager because she is leaving. It was a good night.

Charlotte has been with us for ten years – she is us. Nick Sweating and I interviewed her in our freezing cold office on New Canal Street with the promise that we were about to move into luxurious new offices in The Big Peg – which proved to be freezing as well.

Charlotte had a great CV. She was favourite for the job on paper and confirmed that in person. She was a shoo in. As she left the interview Nick observed to me that she had the potential to transform Stan’s Cafe and this proved to be the case.

At Friday’s party guests were invited to annotate “The Charlotte Martin Decade” a photo-book documenting a ludicrous series of shows Charlotte has put on the road for us. She has come with us on some trips – Barcelona, Budapest, Montpellier, Tokyo, Stuttgart, Rostock (she will never forget Rostock) but mostly she has been in the background keeping us all safe from harm and making things happen.

It was Charlotte’s networking skills that found us @ A E Harris, her calculations that proved we could stay there and her relentless energy that kept the place functioning for five years. It was during this time that so many people from other arts organisations came to recognize what we had always know, how lucky were were to have Charlotte with us.

On Friday Rob thanked Charlotte on behalf of the Stan’s Cafe boards and I thanked her for myself, Craig and all the Associate Artists Charlotte looked after. In response Charlotte gave a touching speech about feeling at home with Stan’s Cafe.


We threw a party to say Thank You to Charlotte. People came from Leeds, London and Leamington, Coventry, Northamptonshire, Royal Berkshire, Handsworth, Kings Heath, Stirchley, Moseley and the Edgbaston/Ladywood cusp to say ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’.

Jake played great records and lots of people danced. Charlotte wore her gifts of gold Docs and a fantastic sparkling gold dress. It has been a great decade, it was a great night.

Charlotte officially leaves in mid-January. People keep asking who is replacing her. Well, it’s not that easy, you can’t replace Charlotte with a single person we have appointed two people to form a new staffing structure. These new team members will be announced in a couple of weeks time.