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


18729About Us

Charlotte Martin

(general manager)
Charlotte started her journey to Stan’s Cafe with a degree in Business Law and postrgraduate diploma in Museum Studies. She first worked for rock promoters Clear Channel Entertainment, before working in various capacities for the Arts Department at Birmingham City Council, Fierce Earth, Cambridge Film Festival and Audiences Central. She joined Stan’s Cafe in 2005 and left in January 2015 having made an incredible impact on the company.

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18727About Us

Nick Sweeting

Nick acted as Advisory Producer for Stan’s Cafe from 2003-2013. His first contact with the company was in the mid ’90s doing consultation work for Arts Council England, intermittent contact developed into a committed ongoing relationship. Nick helped the company greatly though a significant period of evolution and remains a key soundboard for the company and is currently working with us as a producer.

He was a founder member of and Producer for Improbable he now works principally for the Javaad Alipoor Company.

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18721About Us

Joseph Potts

(film maker)
Birmingham based film maker Joseph did on the hoof editing for Framed, has worked with us on a number of film education projects and has provided video documentation for many of the company’s shows.

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18715About Us

Ed Dimsdale

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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18713About Us

Gaeme Braidwood

Graeme became Stan’s Cafe’s principle production photographer in 2009 though impressing the company with his photographs of The Just Price of Flowers. This is his website.

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18707About Us

Kay Wilton

(costume designer / maker)
Kay lives in Birmingham, has worked for Birmingham Royal Ballet and is now works almost full time at Birmingham Repertory Theatre as a costume and hat designer and maker. She made all the period costumes for The Cleansing Of Constance Brown and at incredible speed dressed the whole of The Cardinals and Any Fool Can Start A War, she designed costumes for The Anatomy of Melancholy, coordinated costuming for Noise into Notes and dressed Billesley School’s comic strip version of Treasure Island. She made a new costume for Brünhilde on stage each night of Twilightofthefreakingods and collaborated with Denise on costumes for The Camp. Further examples of her other work can be seen Here.

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18703About Us

Denise Stanton

Denise is an fantastic sculptor and costume maker: for Stan’s Cafe she is the ‘go to’ person for work devising/installing The Steps Series including an heroic stint installing and maintaining Shakespeare Steps in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Her sculptural costumes were used for the leads in Twilightofthefreakingods and she collaborated with Kay Wilton designing costumes for The Camp. She collaborated on Provocation #1 and is occasionally involved in the company’s Creative Learning work, including producing an amazing Carnival with Rowley Park Academy. You can see her other work here.

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18701About Us

Karen Stafford

(production manager)
After working principally in project management and marketing for a series of organisations including: Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Be In Birmingham 2008, Birmingham City Council and Fierce, Karen was given a one-off contract as production manager for Of All The People In All The World in Stuttgart. She fitted perfectly into the team and was asked to return as the company’s full time production manager with additional input into show marketing. With less touring in 2008 Karen left to bigger and even better things. Karen’s travel lust made her the ideal person to take the Stan’s Cafe off on tour. In 2007 she took on the significant challenge of sourcing all the props required for The Cleansing of Constance Brown. She takes photographs and is too modest about her skills in this area. She left Stan’s Cafe in 2007 to work for Greenbelt.

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18700About Us

Ana Rutter

(designer / maker)
Ana is a Fine Art Graduate of U.C.E. and more recently a Master Of Art. Ana is a sculptor and video artist with considerable experience of working in education settings and a history of work in carnival. She first worked with Stan’s Cafe on the animated film Head to Head and took a half time post as half of the education team in January 2005. This post came to an end in September 2007. She made a number of props for The Cleansing of Constance Brown. She continues to produce and exhibit her own work in both group and solo exhibitions. In 2013 she collaborated with the company making “Everyone Born In The UK: 1947” commissioned by the V&A for their David Bowie is… exhibition.

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18693About Us

Lottie Leadham

Made props for Framed and for the IETM Courtesy Car.

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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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18687About Us

Johnny O'Hanlon

(deviser / maker)
Co-founder and now artistic director of Birmingham based theatre company HAMFISTED!. Johnny first worked with Stan’s Cafe creating People’s Radio Freedom. He has also toured with The Black Maze and worked on Of All The People In All The World and City Adventure Days. He is a regular collaborator on our Creative Learning work, including a landmark Marble Run at Billesley Primary School.

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18685About Us

Helen Ingham

(visual artist / costume maker)
Helen designed the set and made the set and costmes for Lurid and Insane and with Mark Anderson designed the costumes, set and power generating machines for Home Of The Wriggler. Helen has also led a number of workshops for us and worked on The School Rulers project.

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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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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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18659About Us

Mark Anderson

(sculptor / sound artist)
Mark created The Black Maze with Craig and James as an equal partner in aesthetic discussions and as leader of the engineering, in both its first flat packed incarnation and then in the lorry. He played a similar role in Broadway Hertz and was commissioned as designer/builder for Home of the Wriggler along with Helen Ingham. He has helped out on various education projects, is regularly called on for advice and co-created Suzie Small Lifts A Car with James.
Mark was a founder member of the acclaimed multi-media performance group Blissbody , he contiues to make spectacular work including the internationally acclaimed collaboration Power Plant.

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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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18651About Us

Giles Perrin

(composer / musician)
Giles is a composer and musician. His first work with Stan’s Cafe was creating the soundtrack for the film Framed. Since then he has wokred on Carnival education projects and was musical director for SONIC JOURNEY

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18647About Us

Johnny Easterby

(sound artist)
Musician, sound and visual artist Jony Easterby worked with Brian Duffy creating So Bring Me Down and composed the soundtrack to the Head to Head video.

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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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18633About Us

Simon Webb

(deviser / performer)
A musician and visual artist Simon played the drums and so much more in Lurid and Insane.

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18629About Us

Andy Watson

(deviser / performer)
The charismatic front man for Lurid and Insane and a reliably committed touring man. Andy has a background in experimental performance working with a range of companies including Insomniac and Eddie Ladd, alongside his own work, much of which is now legendary. Andy continues to create his own music and performance work, including collaborations with Nina. Read Andy’s essay
Stan Work: Lurid and Insane, The Black Maze (touring), It’s Your Film (touring), The Cleansing Of Constance Brown.

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18617About Us

Jack Trow

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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18615About Us

Nick Tigg

A People Show regular, Nick has made a number of showings in The Cleansing Of Constance Brown. He also performed for us in a secret corporate launch event. He has his own excellent company Slot Machine.

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18613About Us

Benny Semp

A graduate of Dartington College Of Arts and founder member of Hamfisted! Benny first worked with Stan’s Cafe creating People’s Radio Freedom for Lurid and Insane with Jonny O’Hanlon. Benny has subsequently left Hamfisted! and is a freelance teacher and performer. He has toured with Stan’s Cafe on The Black Maze, It’s Your Film and Of All The People In All The World and still contributes to the company’s Creative Learning work.

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18611About Us

Bernadette Russell

(deviser / performer)
Bernadette first worked with Stan’s Cafe on Framed in 2000. Since then she has become a regular collaborator on shows and workshops. Bernadette is co-Artistic Director of White Rabbit, producing long running story telling cabaret “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” which has a residency at Toynbee Studios and has also performed at National Theatre, Thames Festival, Diamond Jubilee Pageant and Jackson’s Lane amongst others. She has performed her solo shows “The Lost Property Office”, “Somniloquy” and “The Parlour of Lady Indigo” at National Theatre, Freud Museum, Brighton Festival, and Duckies. She has worked with a range of other companies including People Show,David Gale, Penny Dreadful, Gerry Pilgrim, Shunt and Wet Picnic. She was commissioned to write the last two Penny Dreadful plays “The Missionary’s Position” and “Etherdome” and Wet Picnic’s “Death and Gardening”. Her short stories are published by Ether and Pulp Press. She is resident compere for The Cheek Of It! cabaret at Madam Jojos. Her project 366 Days Of Kindness is on-going.
Stan Work: Framed, Home Of The Wriggler, The Cleansing Of Constance Brown, Of All The People In All The World (touring), The Just Price of Flowers (touring), Tuning Out With Radio Z (touring).

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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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18607About Us

Kerrie Reading

As a post-graduate at the University of Kent Kerrie sat in on rehearsals for The Cleansing of Constance Brown becoming an unofficial production assistant. Subsequently she auditioned for Of All The People In All The World and has performed that show on many occasions. She has contributed to Stan’s Cafe’s creative learning program and performed in the original version of The Just Price of Flowers as well as Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. She left the midlands to gain her PhD. She now lectures in performance.

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18603About Us

Louisa Pearson

Louisa toured with Of All The People In All The World.

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18601About Us

Jan Pearson

(deviser / performer)
We brought Jan back to her native West Midlands to devise and perform in The Cleansing Of Constance Brown. Jan has worked with most of the country’s most respected theatre companies and organisations since the mid 1980s, including amongst others Insomniac Productions, Rose English, Gary Stevens, Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey The R.S.C., The Royal Court, Paines Plough, The National Theatre Of Scotland and Scarlet Theatre. She is also a very successful TV actor with appearances in Silent Witness, The Bill, Where The Heart Is, Holby City and for many years has been a star of Doctors.

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18599About Us

Bharti Patel

Bhati has one of the longest CVs in the Stan’s Cafe team. She has worked as an actor and deviser with many, many companies in the West Midlands Region and Nationally. In recent years she has become of the BBC continuing drama Doctors. Her involvement with Stan’s Cafe started when she replaced Bernadette in Home of the Wriggler through 2009 (she later took Amanda’s role), she has toured with Of All The People In All The World and played the banker in the original cast of The Just Price of Flowers.

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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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18593About Us

Lucy Nicholls

(creative learning producer / performer)
Lucy auditioned for Of All The People In All The World in Birmingham 2008 and has toured regularly with this show. She was in the original production of The Just Price of Flowers and made Come Together with the company along with Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. Lucy has great experience facilitating other people making theatre and has contributed to Stan’s Cafe’s Creative Learning Programme for a number of years including directing adapting and directing The Tempest with Saltley Academy. In 2017 she won an Arts Council England Change Makers award in partnership with Stan’s Cafe and spent 18 months, running the company’s Creative Learning program which she expanded to include Drama Clubs and developing the company’s links with communities in the Hodge Hill area of Birmingham. Lucy has now returned to working freelance.

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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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18583About Us

Mike Kirchner

Mike is a performer and producer and was a regular with Talking Birds. For Stan’s Cafe he gave a fantastically committed performance in The Carrier Frequency and has been a stalwart touring with It’s Your Film and Of All The People In All The World. Read Mike’s essay

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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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18573About Us

Charlotte Gregory

On graduating from University Charlotte volunteered to help with Stan’s Cafe in 2008. She has subsequently performed on tour in Of All The People In All The World and The Cleansing of Constance Brown. She is an ever present in The Just Price of Flowers, has toured with It’s Your Film and appeared in Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. She has contributed to the company’s creative learning work.
She now works a producer for various dancers and Vamos Theatre

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18569About Us

Chris Dugrenier

Chris is a graduate of Dartington College Of Arts. She first worked with Stan’s Cafe invigilating The Black Maze. Since then she has worked on many Creative Learning projects for the company and is a regular on tour with Of All The People In All The World. She was in the original cast of The Just Price of Flowers and Together With Love We Will Make This Citadel Glorious. She has helped install various Steps editions. She has collaborated with the company and BCMG on their family concerts Noise Into Notes and Pathways and Places. She played Brunnhilde in Twilightofthefreakingods and in 2018 represented the company advising/directing a community project Shoulder To Shoulder at Royal and Durngate.
You can read more about Chris’s solo work here.

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16612About Us

Alex Alderton

Alex auditioned to take on Jan’s role in The Cleansing of Constance Brown. Her first performance was in Bucharest and continued on with the show for a number of years making the part her own. Alex is an excellent singer and an acclaimed actor.

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