About Us

Stan’s Cafe is a group of artists from a variety of disciplines, but mostly theatre makers, working under the artistic direction of James Yarker. The company consists of an evolving team of long term collaborators and associated artists, the line up changes according to the project being worked upon.


Origin Story: Back in 1991 Graeme Rose and James Yarker, graduates of Lancaster University agreed to form a theatre company whilst eating at Stan’s Cafe, just off Brick Lane in London.


They wanted an unusual name, but one that wasn’t too aggressive, too posturing, a cheap joke, a bad pun or overly earnest. Station House Opera had always seemed a good name, mainly because they didn’t do opera. So there you go… Stan’s Cafe (pronounced Caff).


Birmingham: When Stan’s Cafe was formed the company could have located anywhere, but Graeme was from Birmingham and knew the city well. The place was cheap to live in and easy to tour from. There were no companies resembling the one they wanted Stan’s Cafe to be already in the city and they fancied being big fish in a big pond.


In the early 1990s Birmingham was in the middle of the enormous civic investment programme so it seemed like an energetic place to locate.
After working out of a shared house and later James’ bedsit Stan’s Cafe got its first office at MAC in 1997. In 2000 they moved to a first floor factory unit overlooking the railway just outside New Street Station. When that was demolished they moved to the Jewellery Quarter and in January 2009 they took over a vast corner of the A E Harris metal working factory. For a decade they ran this space as a venue, rehearsal space and storage facility for the local theatre community. After that space was demolished the company moved to its current space, Our Facility – an Edwardian school building in Selly Oak

1990s

18725About Us

Mark Taylor

(photographer)
Stan’s photographer from 1995-1998, responsible for amongst other things great pre-production shots for Voodoo City and Ocean Of Storms

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18723About Us

Anupam Singha

(photographer)
Took production photos for Voodoo City.

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18715About Us

Ed Dimsdale

(photographer)
Ed took most of Stan’s production photographs between 1999 and 2009 and still collaborates with the company. He also took all the slides that provided the backdrop to Be Proud Of Me and contributed key images to Tuning Out With Radio Z. Ed has worked on a number of education projects including School Rulers, Fruit and Veg Cities, Take It! and A Delicate Balance. Some of Ed’s non-Stan photography can be found HERE

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18691About Us

Helen Kelly

(visual artist)
Video and visual artist Helen made props for Ocean Of Storms and has worked on a number of education projects including A Delicate Balance.

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18683About Us

Simon Gowan

(lighting designer)
Did a heroic job designing and installing lighting for Canute the King in Moseley Road Baths. He then designed the lighting for and toured with Simple Maths.

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18681About Us

Simon Ford

(graphic designer / deviser)
One of the gang of Lancaster University graduates on which Stan’s Cafe is based, Simon and James have been collaborating since 1988, when Simon did both stage and graphic design for a number of student shows. Simon now has his own graphic design business F22 Design where works in collaboration with Eamon Feeney on Stan’s Cafe requirements including the initial design of this website. He has also done education work for the company. In recent years his collaboration with the company has moved to a different level as he has become a lynch-pin of The Steps Series team on location and collaborated with James making What When for Theater Bonn.

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18673About Us

Phil Coy

(visual artist)
Visual artist Phil made props for Ocean Of Storms. Phil’s Website

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18667About Us

Miguel Angel Giglio Bravo

(artist / designer)
Chilean-Italian designer who created the set for Simple Maths in 1997 and thirteen years later returned in trumph from his home in Rome to design and paint all the fantastic scenary for The Cardinals.

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18661About Us

Paul Arvison

(lighting designer)
Paul has designed and toured lighting with companies to France, Israel and the United States. He has lectured in lighting at Lancaster University and ran his own companies P.A.Lights and Mulberry Grove doing large and small scale corporate work. He is a qualified pyrotechnician and regularly lit and blew up Stan’s Cafe between 1994 and 2011. He now writes Science Fiction in Somerset surrounded by his family and lots of chickens.
Stan Work: Bingo, Voodoo City, Ocean of Storms, The Carrier Frequency, Good and True, The Black Maze, Lurid and Insane, Be Proud Of Me, Framed, The Cleansing Of Constance Brown, Tuning Out With Radio Z, The Cardinals.

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18655About Us

Nina West

(composer / performer)
Nina was tracked down after a demo track was heard on a compilation CD at a party. With Jane Webster she recorded a rich, evocative soundtrack for Ocean of Storms; a section of which was later appropriated as the soundtrack to It’s Your Film. Her skills as a performer and live musician were key to Lurid and Insane and later she demonstrated her instinctive understanding of how sound works in theatre when composing for Be Proud Of Me. She composed the soundtrack for The Cleansing Of Constance Brown for which she is the only team member to have been present at every performance. She wrote the monumental soundtrack for Twilightofthefrekingods in three weeks and has created the sound worlds for both A Translation of Shadows and Made Up. When required she supplies soundscapes for The Steps Series. You can discover more about her other work by visiting Nina’s Site
Read Nina’s essay

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18653About Us

Jon Ward

(composer / musician / coder)
Jon’s interest in manipulating music, voices and ambient sounds started with jumble sale tape machines and is currently pursued using computers, samplers and esoteric electronic devices. His occasional work for BBC News enables him to make field recordings from around the globe. Jon’s Site – ditdotdat
Stan Work: Voodoo City (engineer), Bingo (Engineer), Simple Maths (composer), Pieces for the Radio Volume 1, Of All The People In All The World (signalnet composer), The Commentators (engineer). Most recently Jon has combined his composing and computational skills to become much of the cleaverness behind Tuning Out With Radio Z. Years ago he built this great micro-site allowing people to construct their own versions of our performance text Bleak Heart Driver.

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18645About Us

Brian Duffy

(composer / musician)
Described by Mute magazine as a “national treasure” Brian is the artist leader of the acclaimed MODIFIED TOY ORCHESTRA and member of the Sinclair Spectrum Orchestra. Brian is a NESTA Fellow and impossibly clever. He first worked for Stan composing the soundtracks for two of the company’s youth theatre shows, No Walls, Just Doors and Adult Child/Dead Child before moving onto the radio piece So Bring Me Down and the soundtrack to Good and True. Brian did an exceptional job as musical director for Lurid and Insane and wrote music in a Weil style to go with Craig’s lyrics for the two songs in The Just Price of Flowers. He also worked alongside composer Giles Perrin on the music and sound design for SONIC JOURNEY

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18639About Us

Richard Chew

(composer / musician)
Birmingham born composer, pianist and singer Richard was an integral element of Stan’s Cafe in the formative years, composing a series of stunning soundtracks for Perry Como’s Christmas Cracker, Memoirs Of An Amnesiac, Bingo In The House Of Babel Voodoo City and Still. Since then he has formed The Resurrectionists with Graeme Rose and The Shout with Orlando Gough. Rick is a trained opera singer and now lives in Australia and is working as a full time composer. Commissioned with Ian Dixon to write some raw material for The Cleansing of Constance Brown this work is sampled the show’s final track.

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18627About Us

Nick Walker

(performer / deviser)
Nick devised and performed in Simple Maths and Good and True and has toured with It’s Your Film and Of All The People In All The World. Nick was a founder member of Coventry based Talking Birds. He is a freelance director, writer and acclaimed writer with two published novels and a range of work broadcast on BBC Radio. Read Nick’s essay

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18623About Us

Charlotte Vincent

(performer)
Artistic Director of Vincent Dance Theatre Charlotte performed in the Stan’s Cafe restaging of The Carrier Freuency and led the cast in vigorous physical warm ups.

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18617About Us

Jack Trow

(performer)
Jack first appeared with Stan’s Cafe as a boy in a Stage2 youth theatre production of Claire Dowie’s Adult Child/Dead Child, adapted and directed by James. After training at Rose Bruford Jack is now a freelance actor and has become a regular touring with Of All The People In All The World, The Black Maze, The Just Price of Flowers, It’s Your Film and The Cleansing of Constance Brown. He won 24 Hour Scalextric and appears in Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun and was Hagen in Twilightofthefreakingods. He is a regular member of the company’s Creative Learning team. His experience as Duty Manager at BAC and MAC was regularly deployed at the company’s venue @ A E Harris before it was demolished.

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18609About Us

Graeme Rose

(deviser / performer / education leader)
Founded Stan’s Cafe with James in 1991. They worked closely together until late 1995 when Graeme joined the company’s board and formed a new company, The Resurrectionists, with Richard Chew. He returned as an Associate Artist in 1999, devised Lurid and Insane in 2001 and took a post as half of the education team 2005-2007. Graeme continues to perform with a range of companies including Bodies In Flight, Red Shift, Talking Birds, Black Country Touring and Kindle as well as directing his own work and producing projects with The Resurrectionists.
Selected Stan Work: Perry Como, Memoirs Of An Amnesiac, Canute the King, Voodoo City, Framed, It’s Your Film (touring), The Black Maze (touring), The Carrier Frequency, Lurid and Insane, Of All The People In All The World (touring), The Cleansing Of Constance Brown, Tuning Out With Radio Z (touring), The Cardinals. The Commentators, The Voyage, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Noise into Notes, Living Toys, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun, The Camp and Siegfried in Twilightofthefreakingods.

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18605About Us

Rochi Rampal

(deviser / performer)
Rochi first collaborated with James whilst she was still at school, devising and performing in No Walls Just Doors as part of Stage2 youth theatre. She is now a freelance performer working regularly with companies around the Midlands. Her full Stan’s Cafe debut was in The Cardinals. Since then she has also appeared in Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious, Living Toys and Twilightofthefreakingods, devised The Anatomy of Melancholy, took a lead role in The Voyage, more recently she has joined the Of All The People In All The World team and partners Craig in the 25th Anniversary show Time Critical.

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18597About Us

Jake Oldershaw

(deviser / performer)
Studied at Dartington College of Arts. Worked as a freelance performer/deviser for Wendy Houstoun, Kaos Theatre, Reckless Sleepers and BBC Radio. Jake’s own work ranges from one to one performance (Intimate History) to street intervention (The M5 Talent Squad) to photographic work (Midland Aquaphiliacs, Re-Inventing the Wheel). He is now Artistic Director of Untied Artists Jake’s Website
Stan Work: Simple Maths, The Carrier Frequency, It’s Your Film (touring), The Black Maze (touring), Of All The People In All The World, City Adventure, The Cleansing Of Constance Brown and Twilightofthefreakingods.

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18591About Us

Ray Newe

Ray Newe (deviser / performer)
A graduate of Lancaster University. Ray devised and performed in key shows in the early days as the company was finding its voice. His work for Stan’s Cafe includes: Bingo In The House Of Babel, Voodoo City and Dead Body. Ray has gone on to perform on TV and with The Liverpool Playhouse and The National Theatre. He as also appeared in The Cleansing of Constance Brown.

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18575About Us

Amanda Hadingue

(deviser / performer)
Gained a first class theatre degree at Lancaster University in 1988. Amanda has been a key member of Stan’s Cafe, helping to shape the company and its work since 1993. She has worked as a performer and deviser with many of Britain’s most respected experimental theatre companies including: IOU Theatre, The People Show, Station House Opera, Scarlet Theatre, Pete Brooks’s Insomniac Productions, Gary Stephens, Graeme Miller and David Gale. In recent years her work with The Globe, Complicite, The National Theatre and RSC has reduced her appearances for Stan’s Cafe.
Selected Stan Work: Canute the King, Bingo In The House Of Babel, Voodoo City, Simple Maths, It’s Your Film, Good and True, Lurid and Insane, Space Station, Framed, Of All The People In All The World, Be Proud Of Me, Home Of The Wriggler, Tuning Out With Radio Z, I See With My Eyes Closed.

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18571About Us

Charlotte Goodwin

(performer)
Charlotte is a writer and teacher of writing. For Stan’s Cafe she has been a reliable workshop leader and valued member of many touring teams. Her work with us includes: It’s Your Film (touring), The Black Maze (touring), Of All The People (touring), Creative Learning Work and City Adventures.

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18567About Us

Cait Davies

(performer)
Performed in our restaging of The Carrier Frequency.

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18557About Us

Sarah Archdeacon

(deviser / performer)
Studied performance at Dartington College of Arts. She joined Stan’s Cafe in 1994 and was integral to the devising of crucial run of shows through until late 2000 when personal commitments led her to reduce her Stan commitments. She is director of Corali Dance company
Selected Stan Work: Bingo, Voodoo City, Simple Maths, It’s Your Film, Good and True, Space Station, Framed, Of All The People In All The World, I See With My Eyes Closed

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