Monthly Archives: April 2015

Black Country Touring: Occasionally We Skype… during rehearsals!

Rehearsals started this week for ‘Occasionally We Skype’ the new production from Black Country Touring and Sonia Sabri Company. The new show is pushing the boundaries of traditional performance with digital elements and fusing art forms. Here performer Rochi Rampal … Continued

Stan's Cafe Theatre Company: Opening Nights

We’d been waiting for 22nd April 2015 for what felt like years.

When the morning of the world premiere day finally arrives it comes as a relief, the show is what it is, the time for improvements is suspended, we just have to try and land whatever artistic summersault it is we have agreed to attempt. And of course when I say ‘we’ I mean the actors, the lighting and sound operators, everyone but me – which is why it is a relief, my role is over for a bit. I’m standing at the edge of the crash mat with a concerned look on my face.

I read with envy stories of directors who watch and listen to their audiences to learn about their show. This seems like the right thing to be doing, but it requires nerves of steel I do not possess. I try to avoid looking at the audience. I sit with them and absorb the sense of the room, but I live in horror of spotting someone yawning or sharing a grimace of aesthetic anguish with a neighbour.

Being a performer must be terrifying, but it’s not tremendous fun being the director, sitting in the auditorium with no control, unable to help; carrying the tension of knowing everything could go wrong (which doesn’t stop surprising things going wrong). The director has the anguish of spotting everything that has gone wrong and assuming it is equally obvious to everyone else.

A few things went wrong on 22nd April, the result of unexpected technical challenges late in rehearsals / too little technical time / a touch of over ambition / the power of psychic tension to transmit from human beings to electronics. In such circumstances audiences often say they didn’t notice, the retort is simple “you may not have recognised the thing as going wrong but if it hadn’t have gone wrong you would have thought it was a lot better”.

World Premieres are curious, they are undoubtedly special occasions but they are rarely great shows. They carry a degree of kudos and the dubious honour of hosting them tends to go to a commissioning partner, but the excitement is more about discovering whether the new piece is going to become a great show rather than seeing a great show. There is however often a nervous energy to this premiere that is rarely replicated.
I understand that for big productions there is an elaborate etiquette of previews before premieres and press nights Etc. For A Translation of Shadows there are five performances in the first month of a show’s life and this doesn’t lend itself to such luxuries as previews. Press Night is on the second night and if a national reviewer can only make the first night then… “what the hell, if we don’t get them in now then we never will”.

Ultimately we are happy with the state A Translation of Shadows is in after three performances, it’s looking good, audiences are enjoying it, there are no major problems and there is still more to get from it. We’re grateful to everyone who supported the show at Warwick Arts Centre, and to them for commissioning the show and taking on the mixed blessing of the premiere. Next up… Peninsular Arts in Plymouth before Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton.

mid * point: 4 Squares festival Open Call to Artists!




Call for entries:                                                                Arts festival performances, arts activities and installations

Deadline for submissions:                                           Thursday 14th May 2015

Performance dates:                                                        25-27 September 2015




Artistic Opportunities

We are seeking expressions of interest in artistic work across all art forms which has a total creation and presenting  project cost from between £500-£4000. The work will be included in the Festival programme

What we are looking for:

High quality, engaging, outdoor based work that can appeal to a broad audience.  Work will be based mainly in and around the Bull ring and Victoria Square and Centenary Square. There are some particular areas of interest:



We are particularly interested in work for families and children


Activities that give adults and children an opportunity to express themselves creatively



We are interested in receiving applications from organisations who might not usually work together and would like to explore the possibility of presenting something new and interesting in partnership.


Performances that engage audiences on a low-level participative basis.



One of the main partners and funders of the festival is Retail Birmingham.  Work with or in a shopping context are welcomed



Who can apply?

Independent companies (none ACE national portfolio organisations)  and individual  artists are encouraged to apply for this fund. You will work with the festival creative and producing team to assist with the development and placing of your work in the context of the festival programme. You must be able to present the work on the festival weekend. Partnerships or support from Birmingham Arts Partnership members is welcome. Artists may submit more than one proposal.  Funding will be paid 75% at the point of contract and 25% on the successful delivery of the event.



Please complete the form below and send on to named contacts. The process is as follows:

14th May                              Deadline for proposals

w/c 18th May                      Shortlisting panel convenes, dialogue with potential artists and initial decision making

w/c 26th May                      Confirmation of successful projects



4 Squares Weekender 2015 (working title) is a cross- arts form Festival of high-quality, free performance, music, visual arts and participative events. Building on the success of the 2013 event, this year’s festival celebrates the re-opening of a transformed New Street Station / Grand Central and adjacent city centre. The Festival seeks to bring “great art for everyone and has been designed to have a broad appeal to the city’s diverse population and international visitors.  In particular it offers young people and families the opportunity to enjoy two great cultural days out and enhances Birmingham’s growing reputation as a leading destination for culture.


The Festival includes a wide range of work from  large scale performance such as Birmingham Hippodrome presenting Compagnie Transe Expresse ‘Maudits Sonnants’  to dance you ‘happen’ across  in shop windows. There’s opportunities to listen to music with Town Hall Symphony Hall’s Outdoor Musical Picnic, watch Vanley Burke and Gambian dancers brought to Birmingham by the IKON Gallery or get involved in sketching the festival with Urban Sketchers. There will also be independent food stalls.


Events will be presented during the days and into the evenings in Birmingham’s main civic squares and shopping spaces. These include: Centenary Square, Rotunda Square and Victoria Square, Bullring, Mailbox and retail shops along New Street and in the shopping centre. The event will take place on the weekend of 25-27th September 2015. Almost all events will be free of charge.


A short video of the 2013 festival can be found here: The event saw attendances of over 95,000, significant media coverage and positive feedback from audiences and partners. Now granted signature festival status from Birmingham City Council, the event is planned to take place biennially.


The festival is an initiative of the  Birmingham Arts Partnership  who have appointed an artistic team – Creative Director, Roxana Silbert (Birmingham REP) and Associate Directors Corey Baker (Choreographer), Tim Hodgson (Theatre Maker and Festival Director) and Ola Animashawun (Producer and Theatre Director).  It’s being coordinated by the Birmingham Hippodrome.



Main Contacts

Artistic Contact:               Ola Animashawun;  Freelance Producer & Theatre Director

07814 123 816


Producing Contact:         Caroline Davis; Birmingham Hippodrome,

0121 689 3044

For the application form please ask


mid * point: THE WHITE SHINING LAND by David Calcutt

MAT presents



A special project for community actors


In 2015, MAT is touring The White Shining Land, a new play by David Calcutt.


A group of travellers are crossing the ocean, heading for the ‘promised land’ of their dreams. To pass the time, they tell stories … stories about their lives back home … or folk tales that have been passed down to them … stories they will always carry with them, wherever they go …


David Calcutt’s play blends stories in a range of styles, from broad slapstick comedy, to the fantastical and the macabre. The production will feature a cast of community actors. Rehearsals will be held at the Birmingham Rep Theatre from 25th to 29th May (10am – 5pm daily). This will be followed by 5 or more performances in Midlands venues in May – June.


The production will involve acting, movement work, and singing. No previous experience is required. Expenses will be paid.


If you want to take part, or would like more details, contact us on: 0121 608 7144 or

mid * point: (h)Experiment: Slot Together


Sat 9 & Sat 16 May | 7.30pm | mac birmingham


Slot Together is a special theatre event taking place over 2 nights in May. Part of mac’s (h)Experiment season which reimagines the beloved Hexagon Theatre as a space for exploration and collaboration, Slot Together is programmed in partnership with renowned Birmingham theatre company Stan’s Cafe.


In Slot Together, 8 theatre companies or artists have been asked to create a 20 minute performance which use the same 8’ x 6’ stage, the same 12 props and the same lighting rig. Come on both nights to see all 8 brand new shows, specially commissioned from a broad range of artists to ‘slot together’ especially for you.


Here’s the line-up:

Sat 9 May | 7:30pm | Tickets £5 in advance (£8 on the day)
Eric MacLennan, Tribal Soul, Tom Marshman and Sam Newton

Sat 16 May | 7:30pm  | Tickets £5 in advance (£8 on the day)
Celia Moreno, Noctium, Adie Mueller and Kristina Gavran


For more information about Slot Together, the artists or our (h)Experiment season, visit our website

mid * point: PoguePlay Aerialists Showcase

RoguePlay Theatre, Birmingham’s Highly Physical Theatre Company, have our latest Aerialists Showcase on 9th May at our space in Digbeth. RoguePlay have been running a series of classes from our studio space; West Midlands Creation Centre, since we moved in January 2013, and since then we have had many local people pass through our doors for training. Every year we like to give them an opportunity to develop routines and show off some of their skills to the public. And they are skilled, we can tell you that! Witness silks, trapeze and hoop solo and doubles acts from those aged 11 years to 50 years! And some have been training only a few months to those who have been training since we opened!
Aerial acts, music, drinks and even a raffle through which you can win free classes and training! So if you enjoy Circus performance and would like to see what we get up to here at RoguePlay, come along to our Aerialist Showcase.
It’s also a great opportunity to see what training in Circus entails and how rewarding the results are if you are thinking of coming along to a class and getting involved.
Tickets are £5, to book online or available on the door, although there is limited space so booking early online is a good idea!
All the proceeds go towards our funding pot to buy curtains for the space.

9th May, 7.30pm
Unit 8, Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, B5 5RT

mid * point: Audition call out

Can We Talk?

Audition Call Out Requirements

Production Type – Theatre
Location – Birmingham
Salary – £800 2 week rehearsal £100 per show
Duration Audition – Wednesday 6th May (Half hour slots 10am – 6pm)
Rehearsals – Monday 15th June – Friday 26th June
First Performance – Saturday 27th June
Closing Date – 1st May 2015

Production Details – A twenty minute play Can We Talk? explores a footballer’s experiences of mental health issues. Followed by workshop. Written and produced by LouDeemY Productions. Commissioned by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust and Mind.

Characters – Male African Caribbean, playing age mid 20’s, to play character of Adam, a former premier league footballer who suffered a breakdown at the peak of his career and is now trying to sort his life out. He has vulnerabilities, but is resilient, with a good sense of humour.

Male African Caribbean, playing age 40+, to play character of Martin, a psychotherapist, very experienced in his field, articulate, educated, very self aware, warm and empathetic, but
also with a sense of humour. Requirements Professionally trained essential. Workshop and forum theatre experience highly preferable.

Application Send CV with headshot and covering letter to

mid * point: Wolverhampton reduced to tears of laughter

Newbury Productions (UK) Limited






Written and Directed by Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor


Spring/Summer UK Tour 2015




Following a hugely successful, critically acclaimed season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2014 the Reduced Shakespeare Company will set out to reduce the UK to tears of laughter in Spring 2015. Yes that’s right, the bad boys of abridgement will finally tackle the subject they were born to reduce. From the high-brow to the low, The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) covers comedy through the ages, from Aristophanes and Shakespeare to Vaudeville and Charlie Chaplin.


What’s On Stage (2014)

The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) is far more affordable than tickets to an amusement park, but you’ll still come away with the same feeling of nausea and motion sickness. From cavemen telling “Rock Rock” jokes to Chris Rock and everything in-between, the Company leave no joke untold as they deconstruct the entire history of comedy in 90 rollicking minutes.


British Theatre Guide (2014)

The Reduced Shakespeare Company is a three-man comedy troupe that takes long, serious subjects and reduces them to short, sharp comedies.

Since 1981, ‘The Bad Boys of Abridgement’ have created nine stage shows, two television specials, several failed TV pilots and numerous radio pieces – all of which have been performed, seen, heard and translated into Klingon the world over.

The company’s first three shows, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)The Complete History of America (abridged) and The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) enjoyed a nine-year run at the Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly Circus. Not only were they London’s longest-running comedies, but at one point the Reduced Shakespeare Company had more shows running in the West End than Andrew Lloyd Webber. Some of them were funnier too…

The company were last seen on a four month t+our of the UK and Ireland with The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at the start of 2014. Before that a whirlwind eight month tour of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) played to packed houses throughout the UK and London’s West End throughout 2013. Prior to this the “other RSC” were wowing the UK with their highly successful Complete World of Sports (abridged), which toured the country before completing a season in London’s West End during the 2012 Olympics.


WARNING! Side-effects may include uncontrollable milking and painful running gags. | Follow us on      and  




Venue:              The Grand Theatre WOLVERHAMPTON          

Dates               Thursday 28th May

Box Office:        01902 429 212


mid * point: Relieve election fatigue with ‘The Russell Brand Effect’ at the Birmingham Rep

It’s not long now until the General Election, but more importantly it’s less than three weeks until the first of our two Open Door performances at the Birmingham Rep.
BOLDtext playwrights fight back against political apathy with The Russell Brand Effect, a series of micro-plays two days before the election.  After the show, we’ll ballot the audience to see who’s changed their minds about voting.
Then in a second show, The Russell Brand Effect – the Morning After, BOLDtext writers reflect on the result, asking if they would vote or not if they had the chance again.  Find out on Monday 29th June 8pm in The Door.
The Russell Brand Effect is on Tuesday 5th May 8pm at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Tickets are free but should be pre-booked on 0121 236 4455 or via
Funded by The Arts Council England.
BOLDtext Playwrights are eight regional theatre writers who work together to promote their work.  Founded in 2013, BOLDtext has presented five evenings of new work at The Rep, most recently ‘Selfies’,  in which the writers confessed professional secrets and revealed personal inspiration. BOLDtext writers are Stephen Jackson, Liz John, Nicola Jones, Helen Kelly, Sayan Kent, Vanessa Oakes, Tim Stimpson and Julia Wright.   More information at
Open Door is a Birmingham Repertory Theatre initiative inviting Midland playwrights to claim space to showcase new work in front of an audience.