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

Associate Artist: Composers

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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18657About Us

Michael Wolters

Michael is a composer whose works have been performed ad at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, the ISCM World Music Days in Manchester (with Isobel Bowler), Spitalfields Festival (with Isobel Bowler), the Barbican Centre, Birmingham Symphony Hall, the Royal Festival Hall, Whitechapel Art Gallery, Tate Liverpool and various other concert halls, festivals, supermarkets, art galleries, shoe shops, theatres, banks, opera houses, in cafes, on beaches, in cinemas, on the radio, on TV; in the UK, Germany, lots of other European places, in Russia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada.

He is a founding member of the artists’ collective New Guide to Opera, is one half of Difficult Listening and Deputy Head of Composition at Birmingham Conservatoire. With Stan’s Cafe he has composed I See With My Eyes Closed and The Voyage.

You can find out more about his work on his website.

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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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18649About Us

Joanna Karselis

(composer / musician)
Jo is a singer-songwriter who also composes music for films. With Stan’s Cafe she created the soundtrack for Ziggi Doesn’t Hate and Merchant of Venice with Saltley Academy. You can hear more about her on her website.

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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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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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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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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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