Stan’s Cafe is a group of artists from a variety of disciplines, though primarily theatre practitioners, working under the artistic direction of James Yarker. The company consists of a core of long term collaborators and a range of associated artists. The line up changes according to the project being worked upon.
Graeme and James agreed to form the company whilst eating at Stan’s Cafe, just off Brick Lane in London.
We 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…
Oh yes and it’s pronounced Caff.
Stan’s Cafe was formed when both Graeme and James were pretty rootless. Birmingham was chosen as the company’s base for a number of reasons. Graeme had been brought up here and so knew the city. The place was cheap to live in and easy to tour from. Neither of us knew of any companies resembling the one we wanted to form already in the city. We fancied being big fish in what seemed like a big pond. At that time (1991) Birmingham was in the middle of the enormous civic investment programme that built Symphony Hall, the International Convention Centre and the National Indoor Arena. The city centre resembled a massive building site; plans were afoot for the conversion of the old Birds Custard factory into a centre for artists to work in, Hockley was gaining an identity as a media centre. It seemed like an energetic place to come.