A City Adventure

corporate   Education   Training  

In late 2002 Stan’s Cafe were commissioned by Creative Partnerships to devise a training day for teachers. The day was designed to encourage participants to take risks and try new things and look at things in new ways as essential elements of creativity.

The result was A City Adventure the success and popularity of which has resulted in it being remade many times for many participant groups in a range of locations over the years.

Ideally a series of mysterious envelopes arrive through the post for the participants – but usually they are just handed out on the morning. Each evelope contains instructions to meet a partner in the Town centre, a mini street map and asecond large envelope to be opened at the start of the adventure. Originaly a tiny spy camera would be included, but smart phones have made these superflous.

The second envelope contains a practical artistic challenge to be completed before selecting one of two further envelopes. The unselected envelope is discarded and the chosen enveloped opened to reveal a second creative task. This process repeats with ever smaller envelopes until five tasks have been completed. Each envelope hints at differeing risks and rewards if chosen.

Participants gather for lunch. They debrief on their adventures including the choices they made and what they achieved. There is then the opportunity for bespoke training tailored to the needs of the group and drawing from the morning’s experience.

At the end of the day participants hear the text they generated through the morning transformed into a poem and a slideshow of photographs they took in response to a further challenge.

There have been many versions in Birmingham City Centre, but also around individual schools. Versions have been created by Stan’s Cafe for other cities and towns. Franchise versions have been made twice in Bristol by Desperate Men and once in Sheffield by Third Angel. Participant numbers have ranged from 16 to 90.

A documentation CD-ROM (remember those days?) was also created as an optional extra – a way of keeping memories of the day fresh.


The Original ‘Risk Day’ was commissioned by Rob Elkington for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham (later Bright Space (since reborn as Arts Connect))

Concept: James Yarker
Orignal & Most Versions: Craig Stephens and James Yarker
Additional Versions by: Jake Oldershaw

Regular Guest Artists Included:
Benny Semp (Mr.Origami/Harmoninca), Chris Dugrenier (Hand Massage), Mat Beckett (Sounds),Graeme Rose (Various), Ana Rutter (Various), Johnny O’Hanlon (Various), Kerrie Reading (Various) Karen Stafford (Various), Jack Trow (Various). And feel too numerous to mention.

We wave also had the indulgence of many people and organisations: Mission Print (Screen Printing), Blissbody (pyros), Brian Duffy (origami), The Town Hall, The Pen Museum, The Framers, St.Paul’s Gallery, Made.

We would also like to thank all the Creative Agents, Teachers and Headteachers who have put their faith in us over the years.

Tour dates

  • December, 2002
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham

  • 24 June, 2003
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham

  • 18 July, 2003
    for Mayfield School, Birmingham

  • 5 December, 2003
    Bristol (by The Desperate Men)

  • 26 March, 2004
    for Creative Partnerships, Nottingham

  • 23 June, 2004
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham

  • 4 March, 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, Nottingham

  • 24 March, 2005
    for Forestdale School, Birmingham

  • 11 April, 2005
    for Raeside School, Birmingham

  • 9 June, 2005
    for Greenwood Junior School, Nottingham

  • 18 July, 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, Nottingham

  • 5 September, 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham

  • 6 September, 2005
    for Frankley Community High School, Birmingham

  • 31 October, 2005
    Iron Bridge

  • 6 – 8 December 2005
    for Creative Partnerships, S.W.London

  • 4 January, 2006
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham

  • 26 May, 2006
    for St.Albans School, Birmingham

  • 9 June, 2006
    for Woodbridge School, Nottingham

  • 28 September, 2006
    for Creative Partnerships, Birmingham

  • 20 October, 2006
    for Creative Partnerships, Stoke

  • 3 October, 2007
    for Loughborough University Students Guild

  • 28 February, 2008
    for Brightspace, Birmingham

  • 1 May, 2008
    for Christ The King Primary, Birmingham

  • 25 February, 2009
    for Bordesley Green Primary, Birmingham

  • 23 September, 2010
    for Virtual College, Birmingham

  • 14 September, 2011
    for Lindsworth School, Birmingham

  • 15 November, 2012
    for Billesley Primary School, Birmingham

  • 2 September, 2014
    for Rowley Park Primary Academy, Stafford

  • 19 November, 2014
    for Arts Council England, Birmingham

  • 14 July, 2015
    for Arts Council England, Manchester

  • 2 September, 2015
    for Central England Teacher Training, Birmingham

  • 4 September, 2015
    for Tiverton Primary School, Birmingham

  • 14 September, 2016
    for Central England Teacher Training, Birmingham

  • 4 September, 2017
    for Billesley Primary School, Birmingham

  • 13 May,
    for The Classroom Stage, Birmingham

  • 30 September, 2022
    for Creative Collaboratives, Walsall