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

Board Members

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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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Roxana Silbert

Roxana Silbert is Artistic Director of Hampstead Theatre. She had always admired the work of Stan’s Cafe and was thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with them in her capacity as the Artistic Director of Birmingham REP. Previously Roxana was Artistic Director of Paines Plough and Associate Director at the RSC and Traverse Theatre.

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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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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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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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Rob Elkington

Rob is Director of Arts Connect West Midlands and former Head of Education Partnerships in the RSC’s Education Department. He headed up the development of a new education partnership between the University of Warwick and the RSC called Teaching Shakespeare. He is a Fellow of the Clore Leadership Programme, and formerly Director of Creative Partnerships, Birmingham. He was one of the founders and served as Executive Director of the educational theatre company The Play House. He was Chair of Governors of Percy Shurmer Primary School and first crossed paths with Stan’s Cafe when shooting a video in his spare time. He has served two terms as chair Stan’s Cafe board, the second a ten year burst that ended in December 2021.

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Lindsey Cook

Lindsey is Head of Sales and Marketing, mac Birmingham. After gaining an honours degree in English and Drama at Bristol University, Lindsey started work as a Training Co-ordinator with Zurich Financial Services, whilst also teaching at a youth theatre. She has worked at mac birmingham (Midlands Arts Centre) since 2001 as both a marketer and drama tutor, conveniently pausing to start a family in 2008 whist mac underwent a £15.2m redevelopment. Having also used this time to work at Warwick Arts Centre, Lindsey is an experienced arts centre marketer, also taking on the remit to manage sales and deliver commercial campaigns for mac’s Trading Company. She is fascinated by the impact of an arts centre on its community, and is passionate in her belief that everyone has the ability to be an artist.

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