Monthly Archives: May 2016

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. GIG GUIDE: JUNE 2016



Freewheelers:  Free comedy improv showcase where groups, pairs and solo performers try out new games and material in central Brum.


Shakespeare Bunga: What if the Watch This Improv Troupe and the Romeo & Juliet team got married? This would be the show.  A brand new Shakespeare play based on your suggestions.


Improvabunga: Previews of the Edinburgh Fringe show from the university improv society.


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


Paria Exchange:  From an audience question two Nottingham improvisers weave 60 minutes of theatre and comedy in pursuit of an answer.


Seven Ages:  Kevin Tomlinson stars in this completely improvised show which looks at the seven ages of man, using stories from the Shropshire audience for inspiration.


Short form showcase:  The sun is shining, exams are drawing to an end and procrastination is at an all time high. This can only mean one thing – Watch This Improv Troupe is back.  Part of ValeFest.


Gorilla Burger:  Regular Nottingham show where everyone is welcome to take part, simply by putting your name in a hat.


Wow impro:  Free comedy night from Coventry-based improv troupe


The House On The Hill:  Rumours surround the mysterious mansion and its blood-drenched past, and the locals aren’t keen on the new arrivals either.  LoveHard perform their Edinburgh Fringe preview show in Birmingham city centre.


The Kneejerks:  A night of improvised entertainment in central Birmingham.


Millions of Voices:  Star Wars inspired comedy show, where the residents of the doomed planet of Alderaan are completely unaware that The Empire is about to blow their planet to smithereens.


Box Of Frogs:  Monthly show in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter with all your favourite improv games.  .  Absolutely free, with their usual cast iron guarantee – ‘laugh, or your money back!’


WITS do StageFest!: Warwick Improvised Theatre Society will make up a completely original show on the spot, based on your suggestions! Come along for the comedy, stay for the THEATRE.


The Improv Musical:  The audience is given the power to decide what the show is about, the title of the first song, what style it will be in and which characters will feature. The show is truly in YOUR hands!


Millions of Voices:  Star Wars inspired comedy show, where the residents of the doomed planet of Alderaan are completely unaware that The Empire is about to blow their planet to smithereens.


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


The Improv Musical:  The audience is given the power to decide what the show is about, the title of the first song, what style it will be in and which characters will feature. The show is truly in YOUR hands!

Keep up to date with all improvised theatre & comedy shows in the Midlands                                    @midlands_improv

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

mid * point: Fantastic summer ticket discounts from The Old Rep

We’ve put together a selection of amazing ticket offers for shows coming up at The Old Rep in the next couple of months. From brand new West Midlands dance pieces, to a gorgeous Nina Simone inspired one-woman show, and an adventure of truly Jurassic proportions, we are really excited about what summer holds for The Old Rep. Please feel free to share these ticket offers with your friends, family and colleagues via email, social media or a good old-fashioned poster on the wall!

To book tickets for any of The Old Rep productions below, call the Box Office on 0121 349 9444 or visit (online booking fee applies). Don’t forget either quote or type in your discount codes!

Thursday 26 May
Time 7pm
Tickets All tickets £6 | Your price £5
Discount code DANCEFUN
Book online here

Following the success of our first dance-focused event earlier this year, we are thrilled to present this second edition of New Work Nights: Dance, featuring headline act Sonia Sabri Company, as well as developing work from other West Midlands dancers and choreographers.

Nu Body is a new dance and digital production from Sonia Sabri Company. Artistic Director Sonia Sabri explores the light vs dark, the real vs fairytale versions of female existence. This new piece asks questions such as: who owns the female body? What is the female experience today? What is the world teaching our daughters? Music by composer Sarvar Sabri draws on global soundscapes and accompanying digital wizardry unveils the unsaid. Nu Body is currently under research and development and New Work Nights: Dance will present a short excerpt of the work-in-progress as a result of a research week supported by The Old Rep.

The bill will also include Lonesome Tonight, presented by physical theatre company Being Frank. Cities can be lonely places even though you are surrounded by millions of people. What does it mean to be lonely? How do live if we are not in close connection with another human being, and how do we connect with other people?

Thursday 2 June

Time 6.30pm
Tickets Adults £14 (Conc £10) | Your price £8
Discount code DINOFUN (takes £2 off concession price tickets)
Book online here

Direct from a sell-out London season, and official sell-out status at Edinburgh, Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe Festivals, Dinosaur Park tours the UK for the first time! Superbolt Theatre’s five-star production is an epic adventure of show-stopping, spine-tingling theatrics and megalithic mayhem.

This award-winning, laugh-out-loud spin on Spielberg’s classic Jurassic Park is a theatrical celebration of cinematic nostalgia. The perfect parody for those waiting anxiously for the next film, and an enjoyable entertainment for everyone else!

Welcome to the unlikely setting of Lyme Regis Community Centre, where the Park Family embark on a journey to a misty past. When things go wrong, family feuds are faced with the rapturous roar of DIY dinosaurs.

Spielberg should be amused and touched by what this young trio have produced… both irreverent and reverent.”★★★★★ The Times

Thursday 9 June
Usual price Adults £12 (Conc £10) | Your price £8
Discount code NINASIMONE (takes £2 off concession price tickets)
Book online here

Written and performed by Apphia Campbell  Directed by Arran Hawkins and Nate Jacobs  Direct from sell-out performances in Shanghai, New York and at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Apphia Campbell embarks on her debut UK tour.

Inspired by the life of Nina Simone, Black Is The Colour Of My Voice follows a successful jazz singer and civil rights activist seeking redemption after the untimely death of her father. She reflects on the journey that took her from a young piano prodigy destined for a life in the service of the church, to a renowned jazz vocalist at the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement.

Campbell may wear Simone’s trademark head wrap but her performance goes beyond impersonation.” ★★★★ The Times

Saturday 11 June
Time 11am & 2pm
Tickets Usual price £10 | Your price £8
Discount code MONSTERFUN
Book online here

This brand new show from the creators of Aliens Love Underpants is monster-ously good! Follow the young inventor Monty as he creates a whole world of whacky inventions and incredible monsters, but he has a problem – now he has made them all, what is he going to do with them?!

This energetic show full of thrills, spills, magic and mayhem will delight the whole family – with original music and plenty of audience participation! The Old Rep is delighted to be one of the first venues to welcome this brand new production of Monstersaurus.

There is much magic and mischief here – and that, really, is the essence of all great family theatreThe Guardian

mid * point: New Random Acts Midlands website

Good afternoon everyone

I just wanted to draw your attention to our NEW Random Acts Midlands website   – we have nearly completed production of the first 24 films.  We are now accepting application for the second year of Random Acts, deadline for the next application is 3rd June 2016.

Please pass on the website link and the e-flyer below to young people you are working with, lots more details of the scheme and how to apply on the website or ring Julie Colman on 01432 344039 if you would like

Displaying image001.jpg4a3b2458-ebb2-4ccc-b0b3-282c03684f5aMore information

  • Printed flyers
  • For some of the Random Acts team to come and talk to group of young people you are working with
  • To set up a creative workshop for young people who would like apply for Random Acts
  • To discuss potential for a week long workshop to produce a film for Random Acts through collaboration and a package of activity



Black Country Touring: Exclusive preview of Tongue Tied & Twisted soundtrack…

Tongue Tied & Twisted promises to blast traditional Indian stories into the 21st century, translating these stories and turning them into a unique theatre experience by mixing the performance with a contemporary soundtrack produced by PKCtheFirst. Have a listen to an exclusive track taken from the upcoming … Continued

The post Exclusive preview of Tongue Tied & Twisted soundtrack… appeared first on Black Country Touring.

mid * point: Blue Orange: Cat in a Hat

Blue Orange Arts presents
Public Performances
Saturday 28th May 2.30pm/6.00pm
Monday 30th May 2.30pm
Tuesday 31st May 2.30pm
Wednesday 1st June 2.30pm
Thursday 2nd June 2.30pm
Friday 3rd June 2.30pm
Saturday 4th June 2.30pm/6.00pm
Saturday 11th June 6.00pm

School Matinee Performances
Monday 6th June –  Friday 10th June 1.30pm

Tickets: £11 (concessions £9)
Press night: Saturday 28th May (6.00pm)
Target Audience
Nursery, Infant and Primary School children
Blue Orange Theatre presents Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic.

Join Alice as she tumbles down the rabbit hole and meets a host of weird and wonderful characters and a series of increasingly confusing adventures in Wonderland. Meet the Mad Hatter, the Dormouse, and the Cheshire Cat who is always leaving his grin behind.

Listen to the wisdom of the blue caterpillar. Join the Queen of Hearts for a chaotic game of croquet and make sure she wins. And did the Knave of Hearts steal the tarts?


Bethany Goodman
Charlotte Fox
James Nicholas
Matthew Tweedale

DIRECTOR: Ian Craddock

For press tickets contact: