Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Mystery and Morality


Last year we toured one of our most popular shows The Cardinals to North America. As the show hit Toronto I was bowled over by a talk given by Dr. Matt Sergie. Matt is an expert in Mediaeval English Drama and he was talking about our show in the context of the religious mystery plays staged on the streets of York about five hundred years ago. So illuminating was the talk that we asked him to convert the talk into an essay, which he did.

When we got onto the usual awkward issue of payment and it descended into a familiar row, us trying to force money onto him and him refusing to take it. Once we’d patched things up it transpired that Matt’s theatre company PLS was planning to bring two of its shows to the UK, so we’ve invited them to come and perform @ A E Harris as our guests and we’re delighted that they’ve accepted.

So, we are proud to announce a mini-season of performances no less:

Mystery and Morality.

Stan’s Cafe, Birmingham, UK
The Cardinals c2011 7pm, 8th July. Admission £5 on the door (cash only) or tickets online via our shop.
Three Cardinals perform the history of the world, without words in their miniature puppet theatre mostly aided by their young female mulim stage manager.

PLS, Toronto, Canada
PLS specialise in giving audiences uproarious glimpse into the dynamic, scatological, often very funny world of English theatre as it was more than six hundred years ago. They translate original scripts into contemporary English and combine these with real medieval music, costume design and performance practices to show us hints of a culture that was, in some ways more liberated than our current one.

In a subversion of the original show’s anti-feminist themes both shows are performed by six non-male actors.

Both shows are family friendly, free of charge, relaxed performance.

Mankind c1464
Performed in the Courtyard @ A E Harris, 7:30pm 16th July
Mankind is very distractable and so Mercy and Mischief are striving for his attention, while a cheerful demon who creates human error is never far from the action. After this performance there will be a modest party to welcome PLS to Birmingham – everyone is welcome.

The Pride of Life c1300s
Performed in the Theatre @ A E Harris 7:30pm 17th July
The bombastic King Life believes he will live for ever despite the Queen’s urgent warnings that a rival King Death has recently landed in their realm.
Since only the first half of the original manuscript has been found the play’s inevitable mortal conclusion will be improvised each evening drawing on audience input.

Thanks to the generous support of Connaught Fund’s New Researcher Award and in line with Mediaeval practice no charge will be made for admission to either performance, but donations will be accepted.

Click here for directions to @ A E Harris 110, Northwood St. B3 1SZ

Please help us promote Mystery and Morality to others either by pointing them to this post or by printing off this A4 flier/poster and sticking it up somewhere.

Black Country Touring: Festival Volunteers Wanted

Volunteer festival stewards and events assistants wanted for Sandwell Arts Festival Sat 13th – Sun 14th August. Gain experience and new skills, meet new people, and work alongside professional artists and performers. West Bromwich town centre is set to come … Continued

The post Festival Volunteers Wanted appeared first on Black Country Touring.

Women and Theatre: New performance piece from young people

The Word Lounge – a new cabaret performance created and performed by young people – will premiere on Saturday 2 July 2016.  Looked After Young People, Young Carers and YP with additional learning needs, aged 11-18, have come together to create this performance which includes spoken word, original songs, dance and drama, and explores the power of words. Performances are at 2pm and 7pm, and everyone is welcome.  A sensory room is available for those who struggle to be in a crowded situation.

Performances: Saturday 2 July at 2pm & 7pm at The Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome.

Tickets: £5/£3 (conc) are available online here, or via the Box office on 0844 338 5000The Word Lounge Front - small

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Coming Up

furious folly

Hold onto your hats everyone, there’s so much to see and do.

The Lunar Festival has come and gone darn it. Craig says it was great, so let’s not miss out on any of the other good stuff.

Alexander Zeldin, ‘new’ Associate Director at The REP has a devised show Beyond Caring opening in the venue’s Paint Shop opening on Wednesday, it arrives with great notices from elsewhere.

On Sunday BCMG’s Remembering The Future is the de facto farewell concert for Stephen and Jackie Newbould, it features four new works and has been in my diary for a good while now.

The weekend after Warwick Arts Centre host Doing Nothing Is Not An Option, a climate change and the arts conference which features presentations, discussions (and probably arguments) alongside three provocative shows.

This year’s BE Festival is nearly upon us (21 – 24 June).

LIFT is already upon London.

Mark Anderson, one of our all time favourite collaborators, is around the country with his spectacular show Furious Folly, which we are desperate to see. The brilliant news is that the show is coming to Sutton Park, it’s free but you have to book, so please do book, but only book on 9 not 8 July as on 8 July we have a one-off performance of The Cardinals @ A E Harris as they limber up to go to Basel in September (this may seem a little premature but a section of the show is being presented as part of On The Edge festival of children’s theatre that runs 2 – 9 July in Birmingham.

The Following weekend we have special guests @ A E Harris. PLS are with us all the way from Toronto, with two medieval morality plays. Mankind will be performed in our courtyard on 16 and The Pride of Life in our theatre space on 17. We will have a party after one of these performances but we’re not telling you which, so you’d better commit to coming to both (there is no charge, just donations). More on this later.

Birmingham Fest kicks off on 15 July and @ A E Harris we are pleased to be hosting Guy Watcham (19 July), Lucky Dog who are returning to the venue on 24 July after last year’s triumph; Reactor Factory on 29 July and Blancmontage are in on 31 July.

Black Country Touring: Successful Opening Night for ‘Tongue Tied & Twisted’

On Thursday last week we had a fantastic opening night for Tongue Tied & Twisted at the Oak House Museum in West Bromwich. The venue created a lovely setting for the premiere of the new show featuring storyteller Peter Chand and music producer … Continued

The post Successful Opening Night for ‘Tongue Tied & Twisted’ appeared first on Black Country Touring.

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: New Leaders


It was exciting to learn that Debbie Kermode has been appointed as mac birmingham’s new Artistic Director / CEO taking over from Dorothy Wilson.
Twenty five years ago as Director of Programming at mac Dorothy was the first person in the arts world to give Stan’s Cafe real practical encouragement. She was then kind enough to be the first Chair of our board and has continued to support the company in various ways ever since. Needless to say we will miss Dorothy’s presence at mac, as will countless other artists and companies, but my suspicion is that, just as Tony Benn retired as an MP in order to have more time for politics, so Dorothy Wilson has resigned her role at mac in order to have more time for the arts. She will be still be around as a freelance mover and shaker, meanwhile mac’s identity will be given a shake up by the arrival of a new Artistic Director.

Debbie Kermode’s appointment makes sense, she knows Birmingham’s arts scene very well and having been Head of Education at Ikon gallery and the leader of Creative Partnership in Birmingham she is well qualified to keep mac focused on its core mission of arts access and education. It will be intriguing to see how the personality of the organisation changes with a new personality at the top.

This an exciting period of churn in cultural leadership around the region. Stephen and Jackie Newbould are moving on from Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, they are replaced by Stephan Meier. Laura MacDermott and Harun Morrison, the dynamic duo behind Fierce have moved on and are replaced by… Matt Burman has moved from Director of Programming at Warwick Arts Centre to take over the Yorkshire Festival, he is replaced by Julia Carruthers. At The Hippodrome Chief Executive Stuart Griffiths has been replaced after 15 years by Fiona Allan. The CBSO have recently announced Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla their new Music Director will start in September. Birmingham Arts Partnership, a grouping of the city’s biggest cultural institutions has changed its constitution and become Culture Central, they have recruited Gary Topp to become their first Director.

Across the region (and beyond) artists will be watching these changes with different emotions. For Stan’s Cafe there is inevitably a bit of anxiety, we had great working relationships with most of those leaders and between them the have commissioned much of our work over the last ten years. We are anxious that we will be able to build equally productive connections with the new people. For others there may be relief that someone who never seemed interested in their work has been replaced by someone who may be more receptive.

Time well tell. We wish everyone well in each direction and look forward to what the new future brings.

mid * point: Ministry Of Data is a DATA RAVE at Millennium Point, Birmingham

I thought you might be interested in our next Doink project which is funded by Sky Academy and Arts Council England and is supported by RSA, Bite The Ballot, mac birmingham and Millennium Point.


Ministry Of Data is a DATA RAVE at Millennium Point, Birmingham, on Saturday 4th June 2016 from 8 – 11pm.


It would be most appreciated if you could share with anyone who might be interested 16+.


The event is designed to give young people a space to explore the EU referendum. It’s a platform to discover information in an engaging way and to extract insight from young people to understand their perspective and viewpoint. Think of it as a living, breathing data event. Expect dancing, drinks, live visuals and sound mixing. Oh, and 6 foot balloons.


Free tickets here.



Please would you sign up to our thunderclap here?


An additional tweet or two incase you can help get it out through your networks:


“Ministry Of Data @doinkco and @beatfreeks lands in Brum on Sat 4th June at @millenniumpoint free


“I’m off to Ministry Of Data @doinkco @beatfreeks on 04.06.16 @millenniumpoint and you should come too!

mid * point: Random String Symposium explores latest thinking in interactive technology in art

Random String Symposium explores latest thinking in interactive technology in art


●      Random String Symposium takes place 10 June 2016 at Warwick Arts Centre

●      A day exploring interactive and networked technologies in the arts

●      Presented by Coventry-based arts organisation Ludic Rooms


Leading thinkers and practitioners from the world of arts and technology will come together on 10 June 2016 for the Random String Symposium at Warwick Arts Centre.


This one-day interdisciplinary event explores latest thinking in the use of digital, interactive and networked technologies in the creative process. It is aimed at artists and arts professionals from any discipline who have an interest in using technology in their work, regardless of their expertise.


A broad range of contributors will be attending Random String, including practitioners from the worlds of visual arts, music, dance, theatre, participatory arts and contemporary crafts.


Leila Johnston will speak about her experiences of being the first ever Digital Artist in Residence at Rambert Dance Company.

Artist, games designer and activist Phoenix Perry will be joining us from Goldsmiths to discuss her research into machine learning.


The BAFTA award-winning BBC technologist Dan Hett will discuss his ‘sideline’ projectsin addition to building the CBeebies storytime app, Dan is known for his digital work with Cornerhouse and HOME in Manchester.


Matt Johnston will share the latest developments in technology and their potential to artists. His company Bare Conductive is a pioneer of interactive technology, including the ‘Touch Board’ and conductive paint.


There will also be more informal Q&A sessions with artists including Juneau Projects, Antonio Roberts, Entropika Lab and Nikki Pugh as well as a showcase of interactive and networked work.


In addition to the Symposium, a one day microFestival exploring technology in art takes place in Coventry on 10-11 June. A programme of free hands-on activities and installations for all ages will take place in the City Arcade and the recently opened FabLab Coventry, open to all.

Tickets £12.50 plus booking fee, from 

mid * point: Birmingham Comedy Festival Call-Out

Birmingham Comedy Festival Call-Out

Want to take part in the next Birmingham Comedy Festival? Here’s how …


Founded in 2001, the Birmingham Comedy Festival has highlighted great comedy across the city, mixing big name acts with rising stars and new local talent.


Our 2015 festival was another great success, with sell-out shows and some fantastic media coverage. It also won Runner Up Best – Arts Festival (Midlands) 2016 in the recent What’s On Reader’s Awards.


At present, we’re currently looking at events, activities, acts, venues, ideas and schemes for our next shindig (Fri 7 – Sun 16 Oct 2015).


Although the core of the fest’ is stand-up comedy, we’ve always embraced other forms of entertainment, with previous festivals including everything from spoken word, theatre, film, video, talks, debates, workshops, book readings and visual art exhibitions, to contemporary dance, cabaret, pub quizzes, magic and puppet shows! We’ve even included themed club nights, food and classical music performances!




BE A VENUE – host an event.

The event could take a variety of forms.


If you already run regular events – for example, film nights, book reading clubs or quiz – why not adapt your programming to tie in with the festival … show a cult comedy, add a humorous book to your reading list or give your quiz night a comedy theme?


Alternatively, we often have an array of acts and artists looking for venues that may be suitable, as well as bookers and promoters who may be able to assist you.

BE A PERFORMER – stand in the spotlight.

If you’re a comedian, theatre group, artist, event organiser, or performer, and are keen to put on an event, now’s the time to get in touch.

We have promoters looking for acts for their line-ups, venues looking for activities, or you can run your own show.


BE A SUPPORTER – support packages available.

We’re always keen to discuss sponsorship and support, and a variety of opportunities may still be available to profile your business with the festival.



Drop us a line as soon as possible with your thoughts via


Please note, all events and activities must take place within Birmingham and within the festival dates. 



Our mini-brochure deadline is Monday 4 July 2016, 12noon. Although we’re happy to look at including events and activities almost right up to the festival, we do recommend that people try their best to get stuff confirmed early, and appear in the brochure.


Thanks for your time, and we look forward to hearing from you soon…


– Birmingham Comedy Festival 2016

mid * point: A Shakespearean Concert

A Shakespearean Concert

Leading actors Juliet Stevenson and Anton Lesser join Birmingham Bach Choir to celebrate the Bard’s 400 year legacy


Famed stage and screen actors Juliet Stevenson and Anton Lesser join Birmingham Bach Choir for a unique concert honouring William Shakespeare.


Part of the year-long UK-wide celebrations marking 400 years since the Bard’s death, A Shakespearean Concert combines varied musical works inspired by the playwright with passages from his much-loved plays and sonnets, and takes place in bothBirmingham (18 June 2016, CBSO Centre) and Stratford-upon-Avon (Saturday 2 July 2016, Stratford ArtsHouse).


Awarded the CBE in 1999, Juliet Stevenson (appearing in Birmingham) is one of Britain’s leading actresses. She has worked extensively for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the National Theatre and the Royal Court, winning an Olivier award for her performance as Paulina in Death And The Maiden in 1991.


Her film appearances include Bend It Like Beckham, Being Julia, Mona Lisa Smile and Truly, Madly, Deeply, while her television work includes Sky Living’s supernatural thriller The Enfield Haunting, and two series of Atlantis and The Village.


Anton Lesser (appearing in Stratford-upon-Avon) recently received a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor 2016 for his role in BBC’s acclaimed historical drama Wolf Hall.


Also famed for playing Qyburn in four seasons of Game Of Thrones, his many film and TV credits include Dickensian, Endeavour, The Hollow Crown, Ripper Street and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. On stage the former student of Birmingham’s Moseley Grammar School has appeared in numerous productions for the RSC and others, including The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming Of The Shrew, and Hamlet.


In acknowledgement of their artistic achievements, both Juliet and Anton are RSC Associate Artists.


Alongside the readings, Birmingham Bach Choir’s musical contributions to the evenings include Vaughan Williams’ sublime Three Shakespeare Songs, which feature pieces from The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Benjamin Britten’s regal Choral Dances From Gloriana; and Swedish composer Sven-Eric Johanson’s Fancies – a collection of 10 songs of very varying moods, inspired by six of Shakespeare’s best known plays.


Completing the programme are William Mathias’ inspirational Shakespeare Songs, and jazz pianist George Shearing’s Music To Hear suite. Consisting of five songs, the suite references several plays and sonnets including Much Ado About Nothing and the famed Sonnet 18: ‘Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?’


Joining the choir, conducted by Paul Spicer, are pianist Ben Kennedy, a Birmingham Conservatoire graduate with extensive West End and UK-touring credits, and rising jazz double bass player Samuel Ingvorsen.


Birmingham Bach Choir’s Chair Sarah Platt said: “We are performing a wonderfully varied programme which moves from Vaughan Williams’ eerie part-songs, to George Shearing’s jazz-inspired Music To Hear where a double bass player will add that pungent pizzicato to the mix!


“We’re thrilled too that Anton and Juliet will be joining us to add another layer of drama and enjoyment to this memorable programme.”


Tickets for both the Birmingham (18 June 2016, CBSO Centre) and Stratford-upon-Avon (2 July 2016, Stratford ArtsHouse) concerts are £15 (£12 conc), available from 07901 798 442 or via:




Saturday 18 June 2016

Birmingham Bach Choir: A Shakespearean Concert

Birmingham Bach Choir

Paul Spicer – conductor

With Ben Kennedy (piano), Samuel Ingvorsen (double bass)

Extracts from Shakespeare spoken by Juliet Stevenson

CBSO Centre, Berkley Street, Birmingham B1 2LF


Tickets: £15 (£12.50 concessions)

Box Office: 07901 798442


Saturday 2 July 2016

Birmingham Bach Choir: A Shakespearean Concert

Birmingham Bach Choir

Paul Spicer – conductor

With Ben Kennedy (piano), Samuel Ingvorsen (double bass)

Extracts from Shakespeare spoken by Anton Lesser

Stratford ArtsHouse, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6LU7.30pm

Tickets: £15 (£12.50 concessions)

Box Office: 07901 798442


Additional Box Office details:

B’ham only: Tel 0121 345 0600
Stratford only: Tel: 01789 297100

Booking fees apply.





As one of the UK’s leading large chamber choirs Birmingham Bach Choir has been contributing to the musical life of the West Midlands since 1919, making it one of the longest established musical groups in the area. Although the main focus is the Baroque period (especially JS Bach), the choir performs music spanning over 300 years including 20th and 21st century works.


“A huge degree of dynamic subtlety… exhilarating… a wonderful evening.”  5-stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Magnificat at Birmingham Cathedral, March 2015).


Forthcoming concerts include War and Peace, a night of Russian choral music (19 November 2016, St Philip’s Cathedral, Birmingham) and JS Bach’s St Mark Passion (11 March 2017, Lichfield Cathedral, Staffs), alongside the choir’s traditional Christmas activities.


For more information see:


Additional information:

Juliet Stevenson on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).

Anton Lesser
on IMDB (Internet Movie Database).

Ben Kennedy –


Link: Press Images for download (inc images of Juliet, Anton and the choir).


MEDIA CONTACT (not for publication):


For more information on Birmingham Bach Choir, plus further images, review and interview requests, contact us:


T: 0795 144 3263