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

2020s

19096About Us

Dominic Thompson

Dominic is a Brummie actor, writer and producer who trained at Bath Spa University. His co-founder of Gritty Theatre. His theatre Credits includ: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, About a Goth (National Tour), Bones (National Tour), Bottleneck, Chapel Street, Death of a Clown, Descent, Dogs of War, Doppelganger, Four Play, Fred and Ginger, Glory Dazed, Lord of the Flies, Night before Christmas, None of the Above, The Heat is On, The History Boys, Mr Muscles and Yen.

Feature films include Brumville, Certified, The Day That Broke and Thy Name is Woman and shorts include Adam Y, Betrayal, Breakdown, Cut Loose, Gangs of Birmingham, Gangsters Parasite, Initiation, It Was Us, Just Two Drops, Martyr, Lost in the Desert Wild, Kobe, Scratch That, Stranded, Trickshot and The Return of the Ring.

For Stan’s Cafe he devised C90 Qawwali: Emperor in Birmingham and mixed producing schools versions of Precious Emily with directing the St. Mathews Church of England Primary School version.

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19095About Us

Rupinder Kaur

Rupinder a performer, writer and workshop facilitator. Her debut poetry book Rooh (2018) was published with Verve Poetry Press. She is the founder of Azaad Arts and co-founder of Gully Collective. In 2020 Rupinder was awarded the Developing Your Creative Practice grant by the Arts Council England to work towards her second poetry collection. She has also been a BBC New Creative and developed audio piece ‘The Girls That Hide and Seek’. She was part of the devisign team for the C90 Qawwali: Emperor In Birmingham micro-production.

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19094About Us

Mary-Jayne Russell de Clifford

Mary-Jayne is an actor, facilitator, scriptwriter, director, BSL poet, BSL storytelling, producer. passionate for deaf/BSL theatre and drama. She was part of the devising team for the Precious Emily micro-production and is continuing on into the full production.

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19093About Us

Rosie Bagott

After graduating from Birmingham School of Acting in 2015, Rosie worked for Big Brum Theatre in Education Company as an Actor Teacher. In 2020, she took a left turn and re-trained as a Yoga Teacher and Personal Trainer during the Global Pandemic. Rosie joined the Stan’s Cafe team to devise and perform the Precious Emily micro-production team as the the bizarre human need to lift heavy things is a subject very close to her heart.

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19091About Us

Caroline Parker

Caroline is an enormously experienced actor and comedian. She has appeared extensively on both stage and television. In the theatre she has worked with Graeae Theatre, Red Earth, Fittings Multi Media Arts, Fingersmiths and Deafinitely Theatre. She was seen by millions signing alongside Berverly Knight during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games. In the same year she was awarded an MBE. With Stan’s Cafe she collaborated on the micro-production of Precious Emily.

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19090About Us

Holly Williams

Holly is an actor, film maker and model. Preforming in the Precious Emily micro-production was her first professional acting role. She is taking the role of Emily Campbell in the full production of this show and is assistant director on the Chandos Primary School version of the show. She has also done some filming for The Commenators.

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19088About Us

Orique Johnson

Orique is a talented musician and producer who has also been know to dance. His first work with Stan’s Cafe was on the Precious Emily micro-production. He is also creating the soundtrack for the schools and full production of this show.

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19083About Us

Will Jackson

Will is an actor and theatremaker best known for his solo show ‘Yours Sincerely’, which has been performed over sixty times around the UK to critical acclaim (‘A Rising Comic Star’ – Attitude Magazine). His theatre work includes Confetti, Magic Hour: The Murder Mystery Disco (Quick Duck Theatre), Dognapped (KIT Theatre & Birmingham REP) & as a guest performer for YesYesNoNo’s The Accident Did Not Take Place.

He studied Drama & Theatre Arts at the University of Birmingham and trained in clowning at L’École
Philipe Gaullier. He first performed for Stan’s Cafe in the micro-production All Our Money

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19081About Us

Lisa McKinley

Lisa is an performer, facilitator and project manager. She studied BA(Hons) Music &
Theatre at University of Hull and MA Acting at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire.
As an actor, she’s worked with Potboiler Theatre, Patch of Blue, Forthright Arts and The GAP Arts
Project. She also makes her own work, co-devised a feminist cabaret piece with GUSH Theatre and organised Theatre Mix events to platform local artists. She also coordinates the Basement Theatre Ensemble at The GAP.

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19080About Us

Katie Utting

Katie’s first professional role after completing her training at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts was in the All Our Money micro-production. Katie began her actor training at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and is both a trained singer and pianist.

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19078About Us

Owen Harper

Owen is a theatre director and creative producer. He is a founder member of Ten Minutes Late Theatre and works part time for Worcester Theatres where he is also Artistic Director of Worcester Young Rep company. His first work with Stan’s Cafe was co-directing the All Our Money micro-production with James in 2021. He is directing the Blakesley Hall Primary School version of Precious Emily.

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19076About Us

Aaron Corbett

Performer, writer and director, Aaron is a graduate of Worcester University and founder member of Ten Minutes Late theatre company. He first worked with Stan’s Cafe taking the lead role of Bordesley in the 2021 Mircro-Production All Our Money. He will play Precious McKenzie in the 2022 production of Precious Emily and is directing the Holy Family Catholic Primary School’s version of the same show.

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19058About Us

Rebecca Rochelle

A writer and drama practitioner. Rebecca is brilliant at working with young people. She ran Drama Club for us in Saltley and Washwood Heath acadmies. She directed both their productions of Us & Them and Time Critical. Amonst other Creative Learning work for Stan’s Cafe she has led The Oaks Primary School through The Classroom Stage and directed City Road Primary in their production of Precious Emily.

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19056About Us

Fateha 'Fats' Begum

As an extremely experienced drama worker in secondary schools Fats has been a brilliant addition to our Associate Artists team She has been prolific in her work within Holy Family primary school, both with The Classroom Stage and Knotty Adventure. He is director of St. Bernard’s Catholic Primary school’s version of Precious Emily.

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18732About Us

Roisin Caffrey

(executive producer)
Roisin grew up in Birmingham and returned to the city in April 2015 to take up her post at Stan’s Cafe as joint CEO. She previously worked in the team that delivered Royal de Luxe’s The Giants for Perth International Arts Festival and for Darwin Festival. She has been Executive Producer at NIE, General Manager of Cheek by Jowl and held posts at the Gate Theatre Notting Hill, Theatre-Rites, mac and Birmingham Conservatoire, as well as producing several freelance projects. She has a BA Hons in French & Philosophy from the University of Leeds and the CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing.

Whilst at Stan’s Cafe she became Chair of Culture Central and was a member of the More Than a Moment steering group, who are working for radical change for the Black creative workforce. She left in 2021 to take on new projects with contemporary artists and organisations, including as Strategic Producer for Selina Thompson Ltd.

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18727About Us

Nick Sweeting

(advisor/producer)
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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18719About Us

Ming De Nasty

(photographer)
A sensational photographer, Ming is our number one documenter of Creative Learning work. She was central to the Treasure Island photo-story we created with Year 2 at Billesley Primary School. You can find Ming’s portfolio here.

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18717About Us

Kate Green

(photographer)
Kate is a photographer who specialises in participatory projects. She as at the core of the Stan’s Cafe team that delivered Trailblazers with 20 schools across Birmingham. Subsequently she has undertaken numerous commissions for the company’s Creative Learning work. Kate’s website.

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18713About Us

Gaeme Braidwood

(photographer)
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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18711About Us

Jaskirt Boora

(photographer)
Jaskirt is an acclaimed portrait photographer based in the Black Country. She teaches photography and regularly works under commission, including work for Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. She started working with Stan’s Cafe in 2021. She has taken portraits of Billesley Primary School students for their Cereal Box project Inside*. She aslo documented River Tours in Cotteridge Park.

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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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18677About Us

Mick Diver

(lighting designer)
Mick was semi-resident technician @ A E Harris and his hard work helped transform a factory workshop into something resembling a theatre space. He has designed lighting for Noise into Notes, Living Toys, Pathways and Places and Twilightofthefreakingods. He toured with The Anatomy of Melancholy and A Translation Of Shadows.

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18675About Us

Yinka Danmole

(artist / designer / architect)
Yinka studied architecture in Birmingham. In 2017 he was the Centenary RSA Young Fellow, between 2014 and 2017 he was the Live Ultd Award Winner and in 2019 was designer in residence at the Design Museum in London. Yinka curates and designs cultural events collaborating with artists from across disciplines. For Stan’s Cafe he designed our Flat Pack Stage with students of Billesley Primary School as his clients. He then designed our tented structure for The Camp. Studio Danmole (Yinka’s professional website)

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18671About Us

Gareth Courage

(graphic designer/illustrator)
Gareth is almost the only graphic designer to break Simon Ford’s monopolistic grip on this aspect of the company’s work. Inspired by his art works we commissioned him to design the map for Trailblazers, work with Brookfields Primary on their Big City Writing poetry newspaper and University of Birmingham’s Eye of a Poet newspaper. He also works regularly on our Creative Learning projects.

As part time lecturer in Illustration at the Birmingham City University Gareth organised his first year students to generate illustrations for the front covers of a big set of Stan’s Cafe scripts, the resulting exhibition, entitled The Something of Somebody Something was hung at @AE Harris the books are expected to be printed in early 2019.

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18665About Us

Maxene Brown

(illustrator)
Maxene graduated from the University for the Creative Arts with a first class degree in illustration then during in a brief internship designed cards that went into production with Hallmark. On moving to Birmingham she was promptly commissioned by students at Billesly Primary School to collaborate with them (and us) on the book What Is A School. After this Maxene also worked with us on an animation project about maths with Rednal Infant School and Nursery Class. You can see lots more of Maxene’s work on her website.

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18643About Us

Peter Maxwell Dixon

(sound artist)
Peter studied composition at Birmingham Conservertoire. He works as a creative sound engineer and composer, working with installation and on-line as well as with live music. He also specialises in Internet Radio and has his own mobile recording studio operating under the name Bassnote. With Stan’s Cafe Peter has keen key in keeping The Commentators audible live and online, he has also contributed his School Radio skills to the company’s Creative Learning programme.

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18641About Us

Christine Cornwall & Luke Deane

(composer / musicians)
Graduates of Birmingham Conservertoire and now working in The Netherlands, Chrissy and Luke compose and play individually and as a partnership as well as working with Wastepaper Opera Company. For Stan’s Cafe they have worked on Any Fool Can Start A War, numerous Saltley Academy Shakespeare projects and created the theme for the on-line Anatomy Of Melancholy series.Luke’s website.

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18637About Us

Luanda Yasmin

(performer)
Luanda is a graduate of the National Youth Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s Actors Foundry. She has performed for Women & Theatre, The REP and numerous short films. She is also a poet and makes YouTube videos on trending topics, motivation and the experiences of marginalised communities. For Stan’s Cafe Luanda has devised and performed in The Capital and For Quality Purposes.

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18635About Us

Laura Wynter

(deviser / creative learning)
Laura studied drama at Staffordshire University before becoming an actor and educator. She has performed with the RSC, Big Wheel Theatre Company and Disneyland – Hong Kong. With Stan’s Cafe Laura has toured extensively with Of All The People In All The World and helped devise Banana Pyjama Ninja with Saltley Academy.

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18625About Us

Elexi Walker

(performer)
Elexi is an experienced performer, specialising in working with writers on the premiere performances of their new plays. She first worked with Stan’s Cafe in 2020 recording Inside* for Billesley Primary School. She took on many roles in Macbeth (2021) directed in part by students at Saltley Academy and performed The Volgar as part of River Tours in Cotteridge Park.

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18619About Us

Lexia Tomlinson

(performer / creative learning)
Lexia is a poet and actor, a graduate of the National Youth Theatre and Birmingham Metropolitan Academy of Performing Arts. She has worked with the RSC, The REP and BBC as well as the feature film Teriyaan Meriyaan Hera Pheriyaan. For Stan’s Cafe Lexia has devised and performed in For Quality Purposes as well as leading Creative Learning work.

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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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18587About Us

Hema Mangoo

Hema studied acting at East 15 before working as an actor in TV and theatre. She has worked for Tamasha Theatre Company, Women & Theatre, Kali Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. For Stan’s Cafe she devised and performed in The Capital and was part of the 2020 revival of Home Of The Wriggler.

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18581About Us

Carys Jones

(performer)
Carys trained at The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. Her theatre credits include Dracula (Blue Orange), Peter Pan (Hurricane), Crimes of the Heart (RBC), As You Like It (RBC) and Pride and Prejudice (RBC). Her film credits include Wild Hunt (Harm’s Way), All That You Love Will Be Carried Away (Harm’s Way) and Magpie (Hannant).

For Stan’s Cafe she was part of the 2020 revival of Home Of The Wriggler which held many close family resonances. She was also part of the devising/performing team that made For Quality Purposes.

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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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18559About Us

Gerard Bell

(deviser / performer)
Gerard works in conventional and experimental performance in the UK and Europe. He has worked with Chris Goode, David Gale, Stacked Wonky, Improbable, and Athina Vahla; and, more briefly, Graeme Miller, Jonathan Burrows and Pina Bausch. Also with A2, dreamthinkspeak, Punchdrunk. He has been at The Sheffield Crucible, the National Theatre, National Theatre Wales and the Orange Tree. There are films and other works with film/installation makers and friends Lucy Cash, Magali Charrier, Shelly Love, and Adam Roberts. More recently he has taken, slowly and intermittently, to developing his own, or solo, work. He has been making a piece with Karen Christopher, of Goat Island, for her new company Haranczak/Navarre, and has just made a new piece, still.here, for What Matters at the Siobhan Davies Studios.

Stan Work: The Cleansing of Constance Brown, The Cardinals, The Just Price of Flowers (revival), The Voyage, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Finger Trigger Bullet Gun, Of All The People In All The World (touring) and The Capital.

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18553About Us

Steve Molsom

Steve is Director of Global Business Integrity for Wealth Management at Deutsche Bank. Before being recruited by the bank Steve had a long and successful career as a pilot in the RAF. His expertise in risk management makes him a reassuring presence on the Stan’s Cafe board.

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18551About Us

Jo Clifton

Jo is Curriculm and Virtual School director at the Elliot Foundation and and OFSTED Inspector. She is a firm believer in the power of the arts to inspire students and improve schools. Before joining the board of Stan’s Cafe she collaborated with the company for seven years on various project at Billesley where she was Executive Headteacher. She is also a Board Member of Soul City Arts

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18549About Us

Sanjay Mistry

CHAIR: Sanjay has been running his own PR and Marketing business for almost 20 years and has extensive experience in public relations, external communications, social media and wider marketing. His career in PR has allowed him to work with many businesses, from large corporations, SMEs, charities and voluntary organisations to raise their profile develop and implement effective strategies as well as worked on numerous national and local campaigns. He has also had numerous roles advising charities and voluntary organisations as well as being a governor (and ex-chair) at one of Birmingham’s most multi-cultural primary schools.
After five years on the Stan’s Cafe board Sanjay became Chair in December 2021.

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18545About Us

Dave Howard

Dave has a lifelong commitment to the application of the arts to the aim of social change, with education being the most fundamental component of the toolbox. He began his arts management career at The Roadmender in Northampton and quickly followed that with a period as Company Administrator and interim CEO for the touring theatre company of the East Midlands, New Perspectives. Dave is a musical practitioner and spent five years as Director of a Youth Music Action Zone leading teams of deluxe musicians in applying their practice to a wide range of community development objectives. He is a graduate of the Clore Leadership Short Course Programme, and has an MA with distinction in Developing The Arts In Applied Contexts. Away from Stan’s Cafe Dave continues to lead ukulele groups, teach music technology and lead on music production projects.

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