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

Creative Learning

18717About Us

Kate Green

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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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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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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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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18699About Us

Reel Access

(video makers)
The team at Reel Access have worked on various education projects for the company, particularly in Billesley Primary School. They responded to the challenge of making a video version of Twilightofthefreakingods with a fabulous piece of video art that we haven’t yet managed to show to enough people.

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18695About Us

Bob Moulder

Bob studied art at Watford and Belfast universities and has worked as a professional illustrator for thirty years. He is the illustrator of numerous books and leads illustration/drawing workshops with students. For Stan’s Cafe Bob has run revision workshops, illustrated a probability challenge, done visioning for an as yet unrealised project Ocean Brain and contributed to the Trailblazers project. You can see some of Bob’s work 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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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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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

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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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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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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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

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

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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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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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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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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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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18581About Us

Carys Jones

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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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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18547About Us

Lucy Bird

Lucy currently works with Stan’s Cafe as both an Associate Artist on Creative Learning Projects and as our part-time Administrator. As if this weren’t enough to do she is also a founder member of and director for Paperback. Lucy also worked as Assistant Director of the acclaimed adaptation of The Lovely Bones.

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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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