The Other Way Works: Welcoming Tricia to the team

We are very pleased to welcome Tricia Coleman to the team, as Producer of A Moment of Madness.

Tricia Coleman is an arts and event producer with a special interest in interactive performance, digital arts practice and new commissions. She is producer for Manchester International Festival (MIF) a biennial arts festival of new commissions; and previously for Abandon Normal Devices (AND), a programme of new approaches to art-making, new cinema and digital culture. Recent projects include: the international tour of virtual reality exhibition Björk Digital by Björk (MIF); Joshua Sofaer’s Workshops in People’s Homes, featuring performative workshops in domestic spaces (AND); and Missing, a game-based interactive theatre experience for young people (with youth charity 42nd Street).

Fierce Festival: It is the end, it is the beginning.

It has come to the end of my time at Fierce. For the past five weeks, I have been interning at the festival in their small windowless office in Digbeth. Despite the lack of sunshine, Fierce has been a great place to work, especially when everyone is in the office it can be a real laugh.

I was given a range of tasks to carry out including editing the website and taking over the social media. Despite recently graduating with a first-class degree from Warwick University, working at Fierce made me realise I had few office skills. I can put on a decent play or write you 10,000 words on Checkov no problem. But show me an excel sheet, and I have nothing. This internship helped me quickly learn how to do those sorts of things which I’m very grateful for, I will not be quite so green in going into the world of work. I was allowed to work things out on my own but if I ever needed help the team was there to lend a hand. James mentioned this in his blog, and I think it’s worth reiterating, social media is actually hard to manage and something I hadn’t necessarily considered. It was beneficial in showing me how important and how much time you have to put into it if you are an arts organisation or artist. As an aspiring performance artist working at Fierce has helped me in understanding the production side of things, things that I would personally like to ignore but I can’t. Most importantly it has shown me that I can do it, it has given me the experience which will greatly benefit me in my next steps.

During the internship, I was fortunate to help out and attend two events that were co-presented by Fierce. The first was Club Fierce: Dance Amnesty. In the lead up to the event, I was able to interview some of the artists and help with its publicity. On the day, the previous interns (Ellen and James) and I assisted in the set-up of the venue, and we blew up and made two substantial balloon banners which looked great. The party was a really great night, alongside some front of house duties, I had my fortune read by Ginny Lemon which was very funny, watched some great performances and danced a lot.

Secondly, Fierce co-presented two shows by Ivo Dimchev with the BE Festival. Again, I helped out in promoting the event on social media and put the events up on the website. I was able to go to the second of the shows; P-Project. It was a great show, Ivo had me in stitches from beginning to end. Also, I got £50 for getting on stage and making a bed so I couldn’t ask for more.

I have attended the two previous Fierce festivals and I’m a big fan, I’ve appreciated this opportunity to see how art organisations like Fierce work. It has clarified that I want to pursue a career in the arts, knowing the production side of things is great but really, I want to be the one creating and Fierce has given me drive to go and do it. Thanks to the Fierce Team, for the advice, the experience and an all round good time. See you at the next festival.

Maud

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Recruiting a Re-lighter for The Capital

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:

What your main duties cover:

• Rigging, programming, focusing and operating lighting control equipment, stage electrics etc.
• Experience of programming the following lighting desks:
-ETC Element 40 sub 250ch Lighting Control Desk
-ETC ION with 40 Fader wing
-ETC Gio
• Participate in re-rigs, de-rigs and get-outs working closely with all other company members to ensure maximum efficiencies.
• Liaison with creative team and company members on the lighting requirements for The Capital.
• Maintenance of touring lighting equipment, where necessary.
• Liaison and collaboration with venue staff in relation to LX plans in advance and when on tour, where necessary.
• Promote a safe working environment and positive health and safety culture.
• The running and maintenance of performances ensuring continued adherence to the creators’ original design.

Deadline for Submissions: 24 July 2018 by 5pm
Please submit a CV to admin@stanscafe.co.uk
Please also complete and submit our Equal Opportunities Monitoring form downloadable HERE.

Contact Information:

If you have any queries or require further information please contact Laura Killeen, Stan’s Cafe’s General Manager, on 0121 236 2273 or at admin@stanscafe.co.uk

Production Synopsis:

The Capital will open in Birmingham in October 2018 before undertaking a UK tour in 2019.
Inspired by economic theories of inequality The Capital slides back and forth through the city, telling diverse stories of wealth and poverty and how these states are entwined with each other.
Staged on twin moving walkways, The Capital is a show without words and will use vivid visual storytelling to explore themes of financial inequality and strained human relationships.

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: BE judged

REVOLT ATHENS by Elli Papakonstantinou/ ODC Ensemble from Elli Papakonstantinou/ODC on Vimeo.

BE Festival starts tomorrow (Tuesday), so that makes it a year since I was on the judging panel. I don’t really agree with art prizes (perhaps because I’ve never won one) so it was a bit hypocritical to agree to be a judge on an art prize panel, but I’m emotionally beholden to BE and find it difficult to refuse them anything.

In the end I had a great week. It was lovely to have an excuse to clear my diary see all the productions at BE – the first time I’ve done this. Being a judge meant complimentary food in the fabulous ‘on stage’ BE restaurant and the biggest treat was meeting the other judges and arguing and agreeing with them.
Naturally there were shows other judges loved for being profound, moving or clever that left me cold or disinterested. There was a show I loved but others felt lacking in some way and no argument I could make would persuade them otherwise. There was the show I expected to not like that I loved and acted as cheerleader for. There were shows we felt too slick, others too knowing.
Each day we met before the first performance to reflect on the previous day’s shows. A chance to tune into each others aesthetic, to gauge the field, to clarify our own thought by hearing the thoughts of others.

When it came to the final reckoning we cut the festival brochure up to get a picture of each show an pushed them around a table top in the sealed off dining area. Knowing the audience were voting for their own prize allowed us not to be swayed by cheering and whooping where we didn’t feel like cheering or whooping.
Multiple subsidiary prizes sponsored by venues across Europe but awarded by us, made haggling easier. “In or out?” was followed by “we have to lose some” resulted in “this or that?” became “so is it these?” and eventually “which matches which prize?” with the clock ticking down we came to “are we happy with this?” and I think we were.

You have your own aesthetic preferences and presumably you’ve been asked onto the panel because of those preferences but you are always award that the name BE Festival will be on the prize so your ultimately your choice must represent them and their values as well.

I think we did a good job and tomorrow at 7pm you can see the first prize winners ODC Ensemble from Greece performing the full (and updated) version of their winning show Revolt in Athens.

Little Earthquake: We’re Itching To Talk About… Tickertape Parade

We’re Itching To Talk About… is a series of blog posts in which we feature some of the brilliant work our theatre-making friends are creating within the region and further afield.

Tickertape Parade is the brainchild of Birmingham-based producer and project manager Tim Hodgson. We chatted to Tim during his current project Fantabulosa!

Upcoming Fantabulosa! dates include:
Summer in Southside (Birmingham Hippodrome): 14 & 15 July 2018
The Big Feast (Appetite Stoke): 24 & 25 August 2018
Then touring

Fantabulosa! is commissioned by Birmingham Hippodrome & Appetite Stoke, supported using funding provided by the OffSite affiliate partners – Déda, Derby Féste, So Festival and Appetite Stoke. The project is also supported using public funding from Arts Council England.

For more information visit Tickertape Parade’s website and follow Fantabulosa! on Twitter.


Phil: How would you describe your work for somebody experiencing it for the first time?

Tim: We make participatory combined arts events focused around cultural, municipal and social engagement – so really any kind of playful work around the subjects of inclusivity, how we live and how we feel about where we live. I’m also interested in the intersection between art and entertainment and ways to lower barriers to participation.

Phil: Are you the only person on the parade, Tim, or is the company made up of a whole army of people?

Tim: It’s just me, but I tend to say ‘our’ because everything I have made has been collaborative in some way, and I’m very happy to step back creatively if it’s not my area artistically or culturally. Tickertape Parade kind of references that – it’s supposed to suggest colour and spectacle, street-level engagement, and people being brought together on even terms to create or celebrate something. Obviously collaboration isn’t always easy but I love working with other people and learning from each other.

Phil: Tell us about three pieces of theatre – or theatre makers – that have had the biggest impact on you, and tell us why they made such an impact.

Tim: Dan Canham’s dance work manages to perfectly tread the lines between populist, political and social. Everything I’ve seen of his, I’ve thought, ‘I immediately get how this is useful.’

Luke Jerram, too, makes work which is beautiful, useful and lasting. I’ve got so much time for work like Park & Slide – the real effect of that project isn’t on the day or even really about the participants, it’s a few days later when a local resident comes back to that high street and feels a bit differently about it.

The work I have most recently admired was Dries Verhoeven’s Phobiarama, a theatrical ghost train about othering and Islamophobia. It reminded me a bit of Jamal Harewood’s The Privileged, which wound me up more than any show I’ve seen and which I love for it. Phobiarama isn’t subtle but it’s genuinely unsettling and I’m fascinated by the mixing of entertainment forms and political content.

The project inspired us to develop a range of performance and activities to showcase the imagination and inclusivity of drag and queer culture to children.

Phil: What inspired you to make your current project, Fantabulosa! and what can audiences expect from it?

Tim: Fantabulosa! came from a commission with Adam Carver to develop a Drag Queen Story Time for Birmingham Weekender last September. That project inspired us to decide to bring together an ensemble of local multidisciplinary drag artists to work, within their own artistic practice, to develop a range of performance and activities to showcase the imagination and inclusivity of drag and queer culture to children.

What we’ve come up with is Fantabulosa! – a fabulous and sparkly drag show for 3-8 year olds (but great fun for grown-ups too) with a whole variety of activities built around inclusive and queer-positive children’s stories.

Phil: RuPaul’s Drag Race has obviously become a prominent factor in bringing drag and queer culture to much wider mainstream attention. What do you feel is the value of bringing some of that culture specifically to very young people’s attention, as you’re doing here?

Tim: The way we’ve thought about this project has shifted a bit during its development – it was planned as a fun, accessible way to introduce identity and difference to children and a celebration of the warmth and creativity of drag culture. But as things progressed, it has begun to feel more important – for all of us, this is work which didn’t exist when we were children and having this show out in front of the Hippodrome in the heart of the city is exactly the kind of visible statement which could help young people feel less isolated and more accepted.

I love Drag Race but it does present a very specific kind of drag – I’m not particularly qualified to critique that, but I am bothered when inclusive narratives still ultimately exclude, just with different parameters. If we’re serious about inclusivity then it’s really important that Fantabulosa! presents various versions of drag culture which aren’t just confined to cisgender white male experiences. We also know that some people are just going to think of drag as men dressing as women, and this is a great opportunity to show the many different cultural and artistic forms it can take.

If we’re serious about inclusivity then it’s really important that Fantabulosa! presents various versions of drag culture which aren’t just confined to cisgender white male experiences.

Phil: What have you discovered about how young people and their adults respond to the artists you’ve featured and the events you’ve staged with Fantabulosa! so far?

Tim: During the original Drag Queen Story Time performances we visited a number of different venues, some traditional arts spaces and some not, but we often found that the most inquisitive responses and conversations came in city spaces where we weren’t expected, like the fruit & veg markets – that definitely inspired us to be more ambitious and to try to get into public non-arts spaces as much as possible.

Phil: We got very excited by your callout for someone to design and build a glitzy pop-up grotto for Fantabulosa! Which lucky artist got the gig, and how is the work on the grotto coming along?

Tim: The grotto is looking beautiful! We chose Emma McCusker, a multidisciplinary artist and designer working in 3D manufacture – her style is really striking, lots of clean lines and bright colours. We wanted the grotto to really disrupt concrete city spaces, so it’s basically this bold, camp technicolour oasis in the city. I really like Emma’s personal story too – since her MA she had been working in London for a car company, and then recently decided to move back home to Birmingham to be an artist here full-time. So she moved back this month and the next day began work on the grotto…

Phil: There’s a brilliant East Meets West thing going on with Fantabulosa!, with Appetite in Stoke, Birmingham Hippodrome and Déda in Derby all supporting the project. How important is it to you to be making work in the Midlands, and how would you like to see the regional sector develop over the next few years?

Tim: The artists we’re working with are from across the region but all from the Midlands, and if you see the show you’ll see there’s a definite Midlandness in the work itself. It’s really great then to be taking the show and the artists all over the country with this, not just celebrating queerness but celebrating queer Midlandness. That’s something which is key to Adam’s practice and it runs right through the project.

My work is generally about space or locality so I’m always going to work where I’m most passionate about those things, but ultimately art is so intertwined with transport, architecture, industry, food and jobs and those things are all local – I think it’s very difficult to be working productively in any public art context without really knowing and caring about where you live and work.

As for the sector, festival-focused commissioning is proliferating at the moment and that’s difficult for artists because there’s no continuity and the relationship is so lopsided. Similarly, there are more collaborations between small minority-led organisations and large established ones, but I hope that doesn’t replace bringing more minority voices into core teams.

I think we will see more commissioning coming from unexpected places within the cultural sector – that’s tough on traditional theatremakers but good for multidisciplinary artists and for minority practitioners who can hopefully hold the keys a bit more often.

I think we will see more commissioning coming from unexpected places within the cultural sector – that’s tough on traditional theatremakers but good for multidisciplinary artists and for minority practitioners who can hopefully hold the keys a bit more often. Organisations like East Meets West are so useful in that way, to empower us individuals with more resources and link us up peer-to-peer so we can build structures to produce, create and curate independently.

Phil: Beyond Fantabulosa!, what are you planning or working on for the rest of 2018 and beyond?

Tim: I’ve just finished working with Friction Arts on Everything Must Go, the culmination of their two-year Wholesale Markets project, and I’m currently developing a new mass-participation outdoor arts project for 2019 around sustainable building practices and reclaiming space.

Fantabulosa! will hopefully grow further after the Summer as we begin taking it further afield and we’re going to start integrating a new local drag artist everywhere we go. That begins in Hastings in September in association with Home Live Art and so hopefully as the show tours, we’ll be helping those national networks between drag artists and traditional arts commissioners to grow.

Phil: As a theatre-maker myself, I’m always fascinated to learn about other people’s creative processes. What main ideas characterise the way you go about creating a new piece of work?

Right now I feel like if you’re not trying to make things better somehow or if you’re just making work for your peers, I really struggle to get excited artistically.

Tim: I see myself closer to the curator/creative producer side of things – and broadly my projects respond to a space or a social moment, I need everything I do to be useful and that’s the starting point. Work which is simply joyful ticks that box too, but the moments which stand out from previous projects and jobs are all to do with having an effect on how we feel about a place, ourselves or each other. Right now I feel like if you’re not trying to make things better somehow or if you’re just making work for your peers, I really struggle to get excited artistically.

Phil: Many of our blog subscribers are theatre students who plan to go on and make their own work professionally. If you had to give one piece of advice to them, what would it be?

If you need support and no-one locally is helping then remember partnerships breed partnerships, so don’t be afraid to apply for small things all over the country in order to get a foothold locally.

Tim: Obviously see loads of work – especially work outside of your specific interests. Also, the big institutions might seem impenetrable sometimes but don’t take it personally or lose heart. If you need support and no-one locally is helping then remember partnerships breed partnerships, so don’t be afraid to apply for small things all over the country in order to get a foothold locally; if you don’t need support, then don’t wait for permission – we have more tools at our disposal than ever before to independently create, publicise and document something small and unusual.

The post We’re Itching To Talk About… Tickertape Parade appeared first on Little Earthquake.

MidlandsImprov.com: GIG GUIDE: JULY 2018

28 shows this month across the Midlands, covering BirminghamCoventry

NottinghamLeicester & more.

Foghorn terrace

***

BIRMINGHAM

SUN 1ST – BIRMINGHAM HIPPODROME

Mischief Movie Night:  Direct from a sold-out West End run and their return from six months on Broadway, Mischief Theatre bring you two more improvised movies on stage  

https://www.birminghamhippodrome.com/calendar/mischief-movie-night/

WEDS 4TH – CHERRY REDS

Freewheelers:  Another packed show of experimental improv from the Midlands and beyond.  This month features comedy from Coventry Improv.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Freewheelersimprov/

FRI 6TH/SAT 7TH – WINTERBOURNE HOUSE

Murder On The Terrace:  Two outdoor performances in the style of a classic British whodunnit, performed by Foghorn Unscripted.

http://foghornunscripted.com/

THURS 12TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

The Armando Diaz Experience:  Fat Penguin Improv show off their comedy strengths using Chicago’s most famous improv format.  

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

MON 16TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Box Of Frogs: Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter where audience members can join performers on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

WEDS 18TH – THE VICTORIA

The Kneejerks: A night of comedy and theatre, featuring sketches and scenes and all completely free.  

https://www.facebook.com/thekneejerksUK/

THURS 19TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  The house team Bunkum Factory will take a very intimate look at the lives of the performers, then ruthlessly exploring the comedy within.

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

THURS 19TH – BLUE ORANGE THEATRE

Squidheart:  The local duo create a full length show based on a single word from the audience.  Part of Birmingham Fest.

https://www.facebook.com/squidheartimprov/

WEDS 25TH – ISLAND BAR

Jumprov:  The completely unscripted comedy show, including a chance to jam with Jumprov on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/Jumprov/

THURS 26TH – PATRICK KAVANAGH

Fat Penguin Improv:  More comedy sketches based on true life stories.

https://www.facebook.com/FatPenguinImprovComedy

SUN 29TH – THE GLEE CLUB

Box Of Frogs: Birmingham’s premier improv group return to the top comedy venue after their previous sell-out show.

https://www.facebook.com/BoxofFrogsImpro/

***

COVENTRY

FRI 13TH – ESQUIRES COFFEE

Coventry Improv:  A free family friendly evening of improvised sketches and games.

https://www.facebook.com/CoventryImprov/

***

NOTTINGHAM

THURS 12TH – THE MALT CROSS

Gorilla Burger:  Theatre karaoke where you can be the star.  Or you can just sit back and enjoy an evening of unplanned, uncensored improv comedy.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

MON 16TH – BUNKERS HILL

The Cat’s Pyjamas:  The Nottingham Improv Comedy Experience host a night of fun and games, including a chance for audience members to perform.

https://www.facebook.com/improvnottingham/

FRI 20TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

On Fire: The next generation of improv performers take to the stage.  A fine night for anyone.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

WEDS 25TH – THE ANGEL MICROBREWERY

Smash Night: Multiple acts spontaneously turn suggestions into scenes and stories bound to be breath-taking and bloody hilarious.

https://www.facebook.com/missimp.co.uk

***

LEICESTER

SAT 7TH – CRITERION FREE HOUSE

The Same Faces: Brilliant comedy sketches live on stage, in the style of “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”.  

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

MON 16TH – UPSTAIRS AT THE WESTERN

Uncle Armando: Themed show where the group perform scenes inspired by stand up comedian Andy White.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

***

LUDLOW

SUN 1ST – BLUE BOAR

The Improlectuals:  See this improv supergroup perform spontaneous and hilarious on-the-spot comedy from audience suggestions.

https://www.facebook.com/improlectuals

NUNEATON

THURS 5TH – ABBEY THEATRE

The Improlectuals:  See this improv supergroup perform spontaneous and hilarious on-the-spot comedy from audience suggestions.

https://www.facebook.com/improlectuals

BUXTON

TUES 10TH/WEDS 11TH/MON 16TH – THE OLD CLUBHOUSE

Between Us:  The inside story of one couple’s relationship in this authentic and touching comedy show.  

https://www.facebook.com/betweenusimprov/

FRI 20TH/SAT 21ST – ARTS CENTRE STUDIO

Prawn Stars:  Award-winning Sheffield improvisers The Shrimps will be a joy to watch in this pair of shows.

https://www.buxtonfringe.org.uk/descriptions2018.html

NORTHAMPTON

SAT 28TH – THE BLACK PRINCE 

The Same Faces:  Monthly Northampton show, taking ideas from you to make brilliant comedy sketches live on stage.

https://www.facebook.com/TheSameFaces/

***

Have I missed a show?  Get in touch and let me know.

facebook.com/midlandsimprov/                                    @MidlandsImprov

MidlandsImprov.com: REVIEW: MISCHIEF MOVIE NIGHT

mischief-movie-night-cut

“The Play That Goes Wrong” is a hugely popular and successful show.  It’s won an Olivier and a Tony and been performed all over the world, from South Africa and New Zealand to India and China.  And now the original cast and creators have created a new show which is different every night.  A one act tale based on a title and movie genre supplied by the audience, taken from an imaginary DVD library containing every possible film.

In this performance, the film was a old-fashioned mummy movie called “How I met your mother”. The hero of the tale was Bartholomew, a historian who wanted to prove the truth behind the legend of Pharaoh Gaia. He believed Gaia had killed his mother when she went looking for the tomb 40 years earlier. His fellow historians at the British Museum thought such stories were poppycock, mocking him and refusing to fund any expedition. A rich widow put up the cash instead, and so Bartholomew, the widow and her two sons travelled to Cairo finding the tomb, avoiding traps along the way and putting the mummy to rest. Bartholomew ended up trapped in the tomb himself, though the mummy was brought back to the British Museum proving the legend to be true just as he had believed.

This is a high quality improv display. Every scene had great moments and all the performers had fun throughout.  The songs were clear and strong with some great rhymes on top of the keyboard & percussion. A special mention must go to the sound and lighting, creating a dark and gloomy mummy’s tomb and adding a echo effect to every dark word spoken by the movie monster.

The key element to this show was the director, watching along with the audience and calling out any mistakes or confusing elements introduced by the cast. Such slip-ups are inevitable in any improv show and often quietly forgiven by the audience. By highlighting these odd moments and forcing them to be explained these bugs were turned into features, acknowledging what the audience had already noticed and adding more laughs along the way.

Even without the director’s involvement, a strong sense of story came through from this talented cast. In the final scene a pocket knife mentioned earlier was used to destroy the book of legends that had been present throughout. The legend told in the book in the first half of the show was used to defeat the mummy in the second half.  And the promise to reunite Bartholomew with his mother was completed when he met the same fate as her. All of those individual scenes which had felt silly and fun at the time were cleverly reused and combined to create a unified whole.  A very satisfying show.

Black Country Touring: Black Country Touring’s Young Promoters Scheme; The Words of a Teacher

Young Promoter Scheme [yuhng] [pruh–moh-ter] [skeem] Run by Black Country Touring, a community arts organisation, the Young Promoters Scheme enables young people...

The post Black Country Touring’s Young Promoters Scheme; The Words of a Teacher appeared first on Black Country Touring.

Women and Theatre: Women of Longbridge Research blog 2

 

Emma Fall has been the Shadow Artist for our community musical theatre performance Women of Longbridge, which premiere this Saturday (23 June) in our latest blog she talks about W&T’s research, rehearsals and what she’s learnt about Longbridge in the process. 

I am so pleased to be part of another interesting project with the wonderful Women & Theatre. I love community events and performances; it doesn’t matter how old you are, where you come from or your ability; being part of the project is what matters. For me, it’s helping the interviewees, cast and audience to come together and share one ‘culture’ and experience.

It has been so interesting to speak to the women of Longbridge. There have been so many varied stories about the Factory, working at the factory, life in the town both past and present.

It has been great to hear about, as well as engage in, existing groups that are still keeping the community alive. One such group was the Austin tea dance where locals gather to socialise and dance as well as raise money for charities. The other team members had a great time dancing, I was encouraged to, however, I didn’t have ‘me dancing shoes’.

I’ve really enjoyed supporting the choir and drama workshops at the Factory youth club, and even though I was informed by a resident that there was nothing for the kids to do, I saw that the youth club was thriving most evenings. The younger people that got involved with singing and drama were very talented and confident individuals with a keen interest to share their opinions and perspective on the area.

Truthfully, before I started the project I didn’t know much about Longbridge. Even though I’d heard news reports covering the 2005 closure, I wasn’t fully aware of the impact it had on the local community; how people lost their homes, how social groups disintegrated and how people became ill or died, ultimately, as a result of the factory closing down.

These stories have been extremely emotive and this is tangible in the script writing and the songs. Looking at Longbridge now, as an outsider, it seems like any other freshly built town with the shops as the central hub. However, as you walk around the grounds of the shopping centre there are little gems or reminders of the history of the factory and the effect it had on the community. It’s great to know that this project is not only embracing the past but that it’s bringing people together to look at the positives and to maintain strong positive relationships.

Rehearsals so far have been great, we have a very talented cast who have not only shared their stories, but have quickly used their creative skills to express the many voices we have listened to.

I’m looking forward to the big day, as it will be a celebration of relationships, community and history that’s deep rooted and alive in the Women of Longbridge. It needs to be shared!

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Of All The People In Salzburg

Of All The People In All The World - Salzburg

We have just returned from spending ten days at the Sommerszene2018 Festival in Salzburg where we performed Of All The People In All The World in the beautiful setting of the Kollegienkirche.

Around 7,000 people saw the show during our time there, people from all over the world. Below are some observations on some members of the audience, collected over one hour on the final afternoon (16th June 2018) …

People looking down at piles of rice and people looking up at Baroque domes.
A boy with a pirate T-shirt and a girl with a top that says Love.
A couple with rucksacks, a guitar and a neatly rolled tent.
A woman with a crutch, a couple holding hands.
Three women with heart shaped biscuit necklaces with the initial S and F spelled out in icing.
A pregnant woman with her hand on her back.
A man with shoes but no socks.

Green plimsolls, white plimsolls, blue plimsolls. Green suede shoes, brown leather shoes, trainers with stripes and trainers with ticks. Sandals, sandals, sandals, walking shoes, espadrilles, high heels, sandals and socks, painted toe nails.

A tour guide describes in German.
A man drips ice cream.
A woman coughs, a man sneezes, a family laughs.
Two girls giggle on a bench.
A man takes his girlfriends’s hand.

Arms folded,hands tucked into trouser waistband, hands behind backs, a hand on a chin, hands in pockets, hands pointing.

A woman puts coins into the box on the votive stand and lights a candle.
A man dips his hand into holy water, crosses himself and backs out of the church.
A mother strokes the head of her baby held in a sling.
A woman kneels and says a prayer.
A baby cries in a pushchair.

Several pink shirts, a jumper draped over shoulders,stripy shirts and spotty shirts, a traditional Austrian dress, denim shorts, lederhosen, jeans with rips in the knees.

A girl runs around dodging piles of rice.
A father lifts up his daughter with one arm.
A man pushes his wife in a wheelchair.
A woman nods in agreement to her friend.
A father strokes his daughter’s arm.

Straw hats, baseball caps, bicycle helmets, dreadlocks, green hair, pink hair, no hair. Two full beards, close cropped stubble, a beard on a chin, a moustache that twirls at the ends.

A woman walks tentatively with two alpine walking sticks.
A girl takes a rest in her little sister’s pushchair.
People write messages on their mobile phones.
A man in a red checked shirt has a heated debate with a man in a linen jacket.
People take photographs of rice and architecture and each other.

A red leather handbag, shopping bags from expensive looking shops, cakes in a clear plastic bag, a pretzel in a paper bag. Sunglasses worn on the face, on the tops of heads, on a chain around the neck, clipped onto shirts by one of the arms.

People from Austria, Italy, the USA, India, France, Scotland, England, Brazil, Japan…

People who look like people you know.