Any Fool Can Start A War


The most extraordinary Primary School show I have ever seen.

Hugh Greenwall, Managing Director, Elliot Foundation

A cast of sixty ten and eleven year olds bring you all the intrigue, tension, singing, dancing and politics of the Cuban Missile Crisis. This playful collaboration between Stan’s Cafe and one of Birmingham’s most adventurous primary schools, tells the story of how Fidel Castro’s revolution in Cuba resulted in John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev leading the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. Witty, visually arresting, educational and highly ambitious, this promises to be an extraordinary production. Everyone is welcome.

While the play contains a central message about the importance of communication and cooperation, it doesn’t dilute either the complexity or the potentially globally devastating consequences of the events it depicts. And there’s something quite brilliant about having ten year olds playing world leaders, Fidel Castro, John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev, emphasising the playground factionalism of the politics, while also conveying a real sense of jeopardy. Between them the children of Year 6 also play a dizzying array of generals, pilots, revolutionaries and CIA operatives. (The kid who played Castro was a delight).”

Natasha Tripney, Exeunt


Fidel Castro (Revolutionary/President): De’jaun
Raúl Castro (Revolutionary): Saleha
Ernesto (Che) Guevara (Revolutionary): Usman
Fulgencio Batista (President/Exile): Salam
Cesar Garcia (Restaurant Manger): Isobel
Eugenio Rolando Martinez (Exile): Waqas
Miguel Orozco (Exile): Rimshah
Pedro Vera (Exile): Millie
Humberto Sori Marin (Revolutionary Soldier): Hassan
Rene Ramos Latour (Revolutionary Soldier): Nadia
Eloy Menoyo (Revolutionary Soldier): Netsanet
Juan Almeida Bosque (Revolutionary Officer): Freya
Emiliano Fuentes (Foreman): Sohaib
Juan Perez (Worker): Jamie
Jose Valdes (Worker): Zohaib
Antonio Manuel (Worker): Josh
Luis Martinez (Worker): Adnan

Nikita Khrushchev (First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union): Rumman
Andrei Gromyko (Minister of Foreign Affairs): Sham
Marshal Georgi Zhukov (Minister of Defence): Abubakar
Mikhail Suslov (Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Commission): Malachi
Alexandr Alexevey (Ambassador to Cuba): Kieran
Demitri Kaverin (Military Engineer): Easah
Sergei Terekhov (Military Driver): Jay
A A Dementyev (Commander of Soviet Military Mission in Cuba): Ethan
Pavel Nasonov (Soviet Officer): Hashaam
Viktor Mikheev (Solider): Abdullah
Vadim Orlov (Soldier): Moin
Maxim Leskov (Soldier): Owen
Leonid Ivanovich Sannikov (Commander): Ali A
Dmitry Timofeevich Yazov (Commander): Wail
Anatoly Dobrynin (Ambassador to USA): Reiss
Stepan Kadnikov (Radar Operator): Aaron
Bogdan Abramov (SAM Control): Danyal
Anton Babkin (Soviet General): Ali R
Ivan Dyogtin (Soviet Admiral): Easah
Igor Kandinsky (Airtraffic Control): Tayyab
Konstantin Andreevich Vershinin (Air Marshal): Chris

Herb Kilmer (Business Man): Alishba
John Roselli (Gangster): Ellie
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (President): Shannon
Robert Francis Kennedy (Atorney General): Courtney
Curtis LeMay (Airforce General): Irtiqa
John McCone (Director of the CIA): Almas
Robert McNamara (Secretary of Defence): Ayza
Marshall Carter (Deputy CIA Director): Chitra
Clark Clifford (National Security Advisor): Alisha
George Bundy (National Security Advisor): Lauren
General Maxwell D Taylor (Chief of Staff): Amani
Dean Rusk (Secretary of State): Jasmine
Nicholas S. Mikhalevsky (Navy Captain): Liberty
Rudolf Anderson (U2 Pilot): Lauren
Charles W Maultsby (U2 Pilot): Hollie
Hank Roberts (Radar Operator): Evelyn

Bernard Peters (TV Director): Chloe
Jenny Jennings (BBC Announcer): Kayleigh
Michael Charlton (BBC Announcer): Reiss
Miroslav Havel (Polish Ship Captain): Dawid
Cemal Gürsel (President of Turkey): Daanyal
Mirtha Montez (Boarder Control Guard): Nicholia
Jesse Jokelainen (Finnish Sailor): Jessica
Child: Emma
Parent: Miss. Zielinska

Written by James Yarker and Craig Stephens with Year 6
Film by George Flemming, Keith Bloomfield and Year 6
Music by Luke Deane and Christine Cornwell
Songs by Year 6 and Luke Deane
Costumes by Kay Wilton
Design by Johnny O’Hanlon and Year 6
Lighting by Mick Diver
Direction Craig Stephens with James Yarker
P.R. by Mobius
Stan’s Cafe General Manager: Charlotte Martin

Stan’s Cafe would like to thank: The amazing staff of Billesley Primary School who have been so helpful supporting in this highly ambitious project. Especially Year 6 teachers Miss. Zielinska, Mrs. Leach & Miss Smith. Thanks also to the team at mac for making us feel so welcome.

The Governing Body would like to thank: Stan’s Cafe for the wonderful partnership they have formed with the school. Any Fool Can Start A War is merely the most public of many projects we have created together over the last two years. The positive impact they have on the learning, expectations and experiences of our children has been wonderful and we look forward to collaborating on many more exciting adventures in the future.

many congratulations on Any Fool Can Start a War. Was great to see the pupils engaging with such complex issues in a fun and creative way


It was brilliant – better than brilliant in fact a huge achievement by the children and such a timely if tricky subject matter. I was so impressed by the dedication of Stan’s Cafe to bring this piece of history to life in a way that sent such a positive message too

(a different) S.B.

Tour dates

  • 13:45 16 July
    13:45 & 19:00 17 July 2014
    MAC, Birmingham