Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

Birmingham Fest 2018

June 27th, 2018


It’s that time of year again when Birmingham Fest rolls into town – a two and a half week feast of performances from across the UK – staged in some of the city’s most interesting venues including The Victoria theatre pub, the Blue Orange and of course @AE Harris. More details about all the shows on offer can be found on the Birmingham Fest Website

We are very pleased to be hosting 3 performances this year …

Surplus by Sharp Theatre

In 1919 the Daily Mail’s front page decreed that there were 2 million ‘surplus’ women who would never become wives following the First World War because there ‘weren’t enough men to go round’. This is some of their stories.

This piece explores the struggle to forge new paths in careers and achievements as corsets were left off and hemlines rose. Denied the vote that they had supposedly ‘won’ with war work as they were not yet thirty, this generation led the way for women to find independence. However, it was not without great sadness, for both sexes and society at large; they felt the world disfigured. These ‘surplus’ women found solace in other people’s children, their work and each other. In an age when for many women becoming engaged is often viewed as an achievement and people are still fighting to live authentic, free lives, the relevance of their journey is alarmingly resonant. The centenary of the end of World War I is approaching but one hundred years ago, for many, it was a beginning.

Surplus is a sharing piece exploring the words and stories of real women from this period.

Suitable for 12+ (some adult themes)

*Following the performance there will be a Q&A feedback session.

15th July
7:00 pm – 7:45 pm

Tickets £5 (£4 concessions).

Fred and Ginger by Gritty Theatre

Rehearsals after school. Izzy is in the chorus and wants to prove herself. She is determined to work her way up through the ranks and eventually secure a lead role, as one day she wants to ‘goo drama college’. Carl is only here because he got caught (allegedly) sellin’ sherbet Dib Dabs cut with washing powder.
Set in a Black Country secondary modern (or, if you will, an ‘Academy’), ‘Fred and Ginger’ is a bostin’ comedy drama that is an homage to those halcyon days at school. It is a reminder that most of us manage to eventually grow up, find our own way, and leave education. But not necessarily in that order…

Brum-based Gritty Theatre are convinced that drama should not only change lives, but also be a part of everyday life for everyone. Their mission is to discover and nurture new audiences by performing a repertoire that consists of modern works that reflect the concerns and issues of the communities that we live and work in. They also tour – not only to share their work with others, but also to fly the flag for the West Midlands!

Suitable for 12+ (‘cos there am a few naughty words in it’!)

20th July
8:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Tickets £10.

The Princess and the E by Tactic Arts

Addressing social issues within the Birmingham student community and drug use in nightclubs, ‘The Princess and the E’ is fun, addictive and dangerous to watch. Taking your typical student night out and flipping it on it’s head, its whimsical humour and dark undertones will create a magical, fairy tale world you will be drawn into. But will everything be back to normal when the clock strikes midnight?

Suitable for 16+ (contains strong language, strobe lighting, adult themes and scenes of drug abuse.)

*Following the performance there will be a Q&A discussion.

22nd July
7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Tickets £5.

PLEASE NOTE AE HARRIS DOES NOT HAVE CARD PAYING FACILITIES

BCU Illustration Exhibition

May 16th, 2018

This semester Illustration students at Birmingham City University have been working on special challenge. Each student has been given a Stan’s Cafe script and asked to design a cover for it. There are more than 40 students working on more than 20 scripts. The result will be a series of ‘print on demand’ books available to purchase in the Stan’s Cafe shop, but before that the students’ skill and creativity will be celebrated in an exhibition @ A E Harris.

For one day only come and see the many wild and wonderful responses to over twenty five years of theatrical experimentation. The students have titled the exhibition The Something of Somebody, Something quoting a title structure we are fond of. We can’t wait to see it all!

Exhibition @A.E. Harris, 110 Northwood Street, Birmingham, B3 1SZ.
Thursday 17 May From 5pm until 8pm.
There will be nibbles and a cash bar to purchase drinks.

Foghorn Unscripted: What the Dickens?!

April 9th, 2018

Coming up on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th April we are very happy to welcome Foghorn Unscripted to AE Harris with their improvised show ‘What the Dickens?!’

foghorn impro

The World of Charles Dickens has never been more interactive and inviting that in this fast-moving, comedy romp. Preposterous names, ludicrous coincidences and crowd rousing melodrama will delight and astound you, I’ll wager a hundred gold sovereigns!

Come watch the fate of unruly urchins and penny pinching priests as they struggle in their journey to find love and fortune, against adversity, poverty and wickedness. Join us in sumptuous drawing rooms, murky streets and smoky taverns to meet sailors, snobs and silk laden ladies.

Oh and by the way, the audience invent the show’s title – so no two performances are ever the same!

“A veritable banquet of comedic delights”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – StagetalkMagazine.com

“The whole evening had the audience roaring with laughter!”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – The Reviews Hub

“There is a wonderful craftsmanship found beneath the foolery”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – Understaged

13th and 14th April 2018, 7:30pm AE Harris

Ticket are £8 VIA BROWN PAPER TICKETS

You can find out more about Foghorn Unscripted HERE

Queer Spaces (CineQ)

January 30th, 2018

We’re very pleased to be extending our relationship with SHOUT and to be hosting their Queer Spaces (CineQ) event investigating “what makes a queer space”.

“With a focus on queer people of colour, this evening’s programme will look at life through the lens of an archaeologist and his fixation on people of colour to create his own queer space far from home, a group in London that created a safe space specifically for queer people of colour, and then we look at the gay community as a space, in and of itself.

These films will be tied together with a panel discussion and followed by live music from Zara Sykes.”

An Evening of Sex with Gritty Theatre

November 22nd, 2017

Birmingham based theatre company Gritty Theatre bring their show

“An Evening of Sex*” (*well a few Black Country Playwrights yakking on about it)

to AE Harris on Sunday 3rd December:

Since the foundation of Gritty Theatre, we have been keen to present new writing, and have been gradually making contacts with established local writers, and are encouraging new ones to put pen to paper.
In our humble opinion, the good people of Birmingham and the Black Country are some of the most inventive storytellers in the country (sit down and eavesdrop in any pub in the Midlands and you will hear stories being recounted, with some storytellers even trying to outdo others). Alas, this is where, for the most part, the stories stoically remain.
We have therefore made it part of our remit to seek out these stories, dramatise them, and return them as theatre to the communities from where they once came. ‘Black Country and Brum-based stories for Black Country and Brum-based audiences’, so to speak!
‘An Evening of Sex with Gritty Theatre’ is our first presentation: three Midlands writers and four plays – and yes, we did think long and hard about the implied innuendo!

There is a matinee at 4pm and an evening show at 7pm. You can book tickets HERE and more information about Gritty Theatre can be found on their WEBSITE

Shout 2017

October 22nd, 2017

GREAT WHITE MALE FIGHT from Rachael Clerke (Clerke and Joy) on Vimeo.

In November we are delighted to be able to welcome both SHOUT Festival and MAC Birmingham to @AE Harris. They are working together presenting a site-specific performance of . This no-wave, drag-king, punk-gig musical is about architecture, idealism and “how we ended up in this mess”.

Hosted by washed up architect/proto-god figure Archibald Tactful (2014 IdeasTap Underbelly winner Rachael Clerke) with anti-virtuoso house band The Great White Males, Cuncrete is a gratuitously sleazy and joyfully noisy critique of alpha-masculinity and the built environment. Expect original music, grotesque posturing, sharp suits and wet cement.

Stay with us for an after party with DJs and an all female line-up of performances from Club Fierce.

Fierce Festival 2017

September 25th, 2017

PILOT: Trailer from RB Films on Vimeo.

In October we are delighted to welcome back our friends from Fierce who will be hosting elements of their 2017 festival @AE Harris.

On Monday 16 October: Fierce co-pilot PILOT Nights, providing a space where theatre-makers can develop their work and try out new ideas in front of a lively and supportive crowd; the pieces presented are all works-in-progress.

On Friday 20 October: Anne Rochat performs Obsidian which draws on her recent travels in China and the extreme landscapes of the Qinghai Province. The performance promises to be a delicate balance between text, body and substance. This performance is free and no booking required.

Saturday 21 October: Preach R Sun as made a new piece, Lord of Flies (Coronation) especially for Fierce. Based in the USA this is his the acclaimed artist’s first UK performance. This performance is free, no booking required.

The Dutch Lady – Fred Theatre

June 28th, 2017

We are very pleases to welcome Fred Theatre back to AE Harris this July. They will be presenting a recently discovered Restoration comedy that hasn’t been seen on stage for more than three centuries.

The Dutch Lady turned up in a manuscript buried in the bowels of Boston public library, in the USA. So far the play remains anonymous.

Forgotten for over three centuries, in February 2017, Dr Joe Stephenson of Abilene Christian University (Texas) began working on the manuscript, and his edition of The Dutch Lady is forthcoming in 2018.

Joe kindly gave Fred access to the script the company will be giving it its first public performances in Stratford upon Avon, London and at AE Harris.

Robert Ball, Fred Theatre’s artistic director says:

“It’s a superbly well-written play, following the exploits of Fuscara, the eponymous Dutch Lady, to marry her way out of financial difficulties. There are additional sub-plots, and very many laughs along the way.

“We’re having a great time rehearsing the play, discovering all the humour, fleshing out wonderful characters that will be new to everyone seeing the show. It’s big, bold, lively and with all the much loved traits of a Restoration comedy. Fred’s production will honour the play whilst presenting it in an accessible way.

The Dutch Lady can be see at AR Harris: 11-12 July at 19:00

For more details and how to book CLICK HERE

Birmingham Fest 2017

June 19th, 2017

2017 brings us the fifth Birmingham Fest and we are excited to be hosting five brilliant performances @AE Harris.

A Positive Life/Dystopia (A Cautionary Tale) – Autin Dance Theatre

A Positive Life is an immersive and interactive dance theatre experience about sex, love and relationships that follows the interpersonal stories of five exceptional performers in dance, spoken word and physical theatre.

Dystopia (A Cautionary Tale) is currently in the research and development phase. It is a thought-provoking dance theatre duet performed by international dance artists Laura Vanhulle and Johnny Autin, looking at our need for connection, compassion and our modern anxieties based on fear and violence.

Friday 14 July, 7PM
To book tickets CLICK HERE

Willis the Poet’s Comedy Extravaganza!! – Rick Sanders aka Willis the Poet

Willis the poet hosts an evening of comic poetry presented by a number of invited stand-up performance poets. This is a new piece of work that primarily involves poets from the West Midlands region to showcase local talent.
Sunday 16 July, 7PM
Tickets £5 on the door

Something About England – Nick Knibb aka The Archbishop

A collection of tales and poetry inspired by music and living in the Midlands in the 1970s. A look back at how times were as a teenager and how they affect us still as adults.

Monday 17 July, 7PM
Tickets £5 on the door or VIA EVENTBRITE

Neighbourhood Watch – Gis a Gander Theatre

Have you ever had a neighbour who has been a pain? What other ‘stuff’ bungles your gravy boat brain? Meet Brassy Brenda and the Bumsville villagers. Guaranteed to have you laughing your long johns off in this eccentric madcap character comedy show. The show includes Bingo, songs and ample opportunities for audience participation.

Saturday 22 July, 7PM
Tickets £5 on the door

S/he/it Happens – Miranda Porter/Le Juice

A comical failure of assimilating gender. Porter’s clown doesn’t know the rules about gender. As if unwatched in their own bedroom, they playfully mash-up elements of gender expression with optimism and naivety. The show is currently in development.

Sunday 30 July, 7PM
Tickets £5 on the door

For details of other Birmingham Fest shows in other venues across the city please visit the Birmingham Fest Website

Macbeth by 6FootStories – 19th May

May 10th, 2017

We are delighted to be welcoming 6FootStories to AE Harris on Friday 19th May with their exciting version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Here is how they describe the show:

In our demented retelling of Shakespeare’s bloody and thrilling classic, three gnarly fortune tellers live apart from decent society, amongst the rats in an old junk yard. Eager to teach the selfish world of man a lesson, they prepare a fortune reading that will destroy a throne and everything around it…

6FootStories invite you to witness their wayward witches go about plotting the fall of Macbeth, rehearsing what they hope will be the bloody and catastrophic aftermath of their prophecy.

Performed by only three actors in an immersive set made entirely of recycled objects, this is Macbeth as you’ve never seen it before. The deranged cast will all play Macbeth, and his wife, and all the other major characters, swapping roles like a gory game of pass the parcel.

Sounds good … but you don’t just get Macbeth – before that show starts 6FootStories will be giving us The Gypsy Lodge, their Swap Shop come fortune telling booth, in the courtyard.

You can find out much more about 6FootStories and these shows on their WEBSITE

There are a few tickets left for this action packed evening to be had via TICKETSELLERS

The night starts at 7.30 in the courtyard. It looks like it’s going to be great.


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