Stan's Cafe: One looks, marvels and understands

AE Harris and Co (Metal Fabricators)

January 6th, 2021

The AE Harris venue is now closed as the site has been redeveloped.

The metal fabricators AE Harris and Co are now based in West Bromwich. Their contact details can be found in the link below

AE Harris and Co

Goodnight and Goodbye

March 3rd, 2020

So our eleven year long adventure @ A E Harris is over. We first presented our installation Of All The People In All The World in the factory workshop spaces on Northwood Street in September 2008. We took over the space as a venue and rehearsal space in January 2009 and moved our office onto the site a few months later. We operated the very substantial space until October 2013 when we handed four workshop spaces back to our landlords A.E.Harris after a valadictory production made especially for the occasion Twilightofthefreakingods. Since that time we have been having productive fun rehearsing, presenting and hosting performances in a 50 seat venue on the site. Now, finally, the whole A.E.Harris site on both sides of Northwood Street has been sold to a firm of property developers. The buildings are still standing, for now, but soon some of them will be bulldozed and all of them will be repurposed. Then, our presence there along with that of A.E.Harris and the firms that occcupied the site will have joined James Watt’s old house as just another set of ghosts on the Jewellery Quarter’s psychogeographic landscape.

Fierce @ A E Harris

October 3rd, 2019

We are delighted to be hosting two performances that are part of this year’s Fierce Festival. Starting first is Tania El Khoury’s piece The Search For Power – which comes highly recommended. It is a lecture and installation for which audience are back in a section of our old venue in the factory. You are invited to look into archival documents in a piece spinnign off from power outages in Beirut. SOLD OUT!

Next up, and overlapping with Tania’s piece is a sound installation Voicing Pieces by Begüm Erciyas. It’s a piece in which you become spectator of your own voice – there are a limited number of slots available for this piece so please book in advance on the Fierce Website.

There are many, many amazing shows in this year’s festival so please do absolutely everyone a favour by checking out thier full programme.

Brazen – Lorna Meehan

May 24th, 2019

We are very happy to be hosting Brazen by Lorna Meehan as part of this year’s Birmingham Fest.

An autobiographical spoken word journey exploring coming of age, the nature of hero worship and the difficulty in just being yourself. Why do we get obsessed with idols who are essentially strangers to us? Why do we fixate on fantasies and how far should we push ourselves to be reckless if it’s just not in our nature? Inspired by a deep connection to Jim Morrison and his band The Doors, ‘Brazen’ explores our complicated relationship with bravery, the transformative power of music and how sometimes, the wildest thing you can do is be vulnerable.

Lorna is a professional actor, spoken word artist and playwright. She has acted with local companies such as Women and Theatre, Somesuch and Shakespeare’s Birthplace Trust and performed original poetry at MAC, The Rep and Warwick Arts Centre. She is co-creative director of RoguePlay Theatre and has previously performed at Birmingham Theatre Festival with her original one act play ‘The Engagement’, a costume drama parody in rhyme.
As a poet she has performed at festivals such as Glastonbury and Shambala and has toured with Apples and Snakes. She has recently moved into longer autobiographical pieces. Her apocalyptic narrative poem, ‘3 a.m Waitress’, was turned into a dance theatre piece by RoguePlay and received a 5 star review at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
This is Lorna’s first full length solo show.

* Suitable for 18+ (contains strong language)

Performance date: Friday 12th & Saturday 13th July.
Tickets £8 (£6 concessions). Available on the door or in advance HERE

Lorna can be found online HERE

Details of all the other shows appearing at Birmingham Fest in different venues across the city can be found HERE

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.


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”

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ –

“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


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.

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