2 – 6 October, 2017
Through our Change Makers award from Arts Council England we have been developing ways of working with people from a range of ages and backgrounds living in the Washwood Heath and Saltley areas of Birmingham. This has included creating and running after school Drama Clubs at two local secondary schools and establishing a network of contacts and arts ambassadors in the community. In October 2017 we ran a week of free Drama Workshops for women at the Dolphin Women’s Centre. The centre offers a range of learning and leisure activities for women in the local area and importantly a place to meet and socialise.
We linked the week to the re-rehearsal and tour of our show Time Critical which explores how personal memories and histories relate to world events. The workshop participants came from a variety of backgrounds and most had none or very little previous experience of drama. We framed the week in much the same way as we had devised Time Critical creating a timeline of world events and adding our own personal moments to it. This provided a lovely way of sharing stories in a relaxed and informal way. The week ended with a sharing of the material gathered during the sessions with personal memories shared, events acted out and dance crazes recreated.
We had a wonderful time working with our new friends and the photographs of smiling faces below reflect the enjoyment that everyone shared. We have been very happy to be able to continue contact with a number of the participants and some helped us out with audience surveys and photography at the Time Critical shows at the Midlands Arts Centre in November.
For Stan’s Cafe: Amy Ann Haigh, Lucy Nicholls, Craig Stephens and James Yarker
Photography: Nushin Hussain
Thanks to: Maxine Mills, the staff of the Dolphin Centre and everyone who joined us during the week.
7th – 11th June, 2012
Magnetic North Festival: Directors’ Master Class Stumbling upon footage of The Cleansing of Constance Brownon-line, tracking it back to our website and reading up on our shows and processes, the team from Ghost River Theatrefelt a sympathy for our methods and following some emails and skype conversations a workshop was born.
A room full of directors could have been tricky to handle, but everyone was on their best collaborative behaviour.
Commissioned by: David van Belle, Eric Rose of Ghost River Theatre
for Industry Series Associate, Magnetic North Festival
Produced by Lee Cookson
Hosted by Alberta Theatre Projects
Participants: Valmai Goggin, Valerie Campbell, Bronwyn Steinberg,
Emily Pearlman, Nathan Pronshyn, Kate Newby, Aaron Coates
Rio Mitchell, Stephen Drover, Heather Inglis, Vanessa Sabourin
Jamie Dunsdon, Leigh Anne Parry, Lindsey Zess-Funk, Eric Rose,
David van Belle
Lead by: James Yarker, for Stan’s Cafe
12th – 16th December, 2012
Setagaya Public Theatre, Tokyo
Having performed Of All The People In All The World at the Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo talk turned to what should come next, the answer was a five day workshop for local theatre makers.
Participants were a mix of freelance workers for Setagaya Public Theatre, theatre makers recruited by critic Chikara Fujiwara and artists responding to an open call for participants. They included actors and directors with differentlevels of experience as well as a dance, visual artist and graphic designer.
The five days mixed practical exercises, presentations on aspects of Stan’s Cafe’s working process and discussions. Whilst initially workingas a full company of sixteen the course developed flexible sub-groups that work together pursuing lines of enquiry that interested them most.
Areas explored were: ensemble playing, audiences as active creators, neutrality in performance, the relationship between form and content, particularly rule based improvisations and the use of text.
The group rapidly developed an excellent team spirit and each day ended with an informal after hours period of socialising and further discussion.These sessions provided extra time for participants to ask James detailed questions arising from their own practice. They also gave James a chane to be schooled in helpful Japanse slang – “KAKKOII.”
Commissioned by: Masayoshi Yahagi for Setagaya Public Theatre
Produced by: Minako Eshi
Dramaturgy: Chikara Fujiwara
Participants: Ayumi, Chikara, Erika, Kana, Kiguchi, Mana, Ritsuko, Rie, Ryuhei, Seiichi, Shinta, Shohei, Takako, Watanabe, Yuki
Lead by: James Yarker, for Stan’s Cafe
Workshop translation: Lisa Takayama
‘After 5’ translation: Yu
Supported by: Fuku-chan, Nira, Rie and Taba-chan
March & April 2003
The REP, Birmingham
DreamlifeSAGA was a project made in collaboration with The REP. For six Thursday mornings in March and April 2003 we ran a series of workshops for people over 50. Usinga range of performance techniques and exercises we looked at themes from David Hare’s RACING DEMON which was playing in the Main House at the time and explored ideas about faith and belief in the 21st century. The project culminated in a showing of a short devised performance in The REP’s main house.
Direction: Craig Stephens
Commissioned by: Mick Yates for Birmingham Repertory Theatre