Paint It Black


Last Autumn, following the 4-hour staging of twilightofthefreakingods, Stan’s Cafe bade farewell to the epic industrial spaces of A.E.HarrisVenue, handing them back to the A.E.Harris Co. manufactory. The previous five years’ occupancy had seen countless spectacular works, performances and events – from the 112-tonne world version of The Rice Show (Of All The People In All The World) to Kindle’s lavish and immersive Eat Your Heart Out! to the giant 24-hour Scalextric. A.E.Harris had hosted the excellent BE Festival, the British Dance Exchange and had also become temporary home for visiting productions by Birmingham Opera, Birmingham Rep. et al. The venue had become one of the most exciting, innovative spaces in the City’s history; the stuff of legend, but for Company members of Stan’s Cafe the demands and costs of running/maintaining such a large space started to weigh against the advantages of having them. There followed the mistaken beliefs that either Stan’s Cafe had moved on or been kicked out of A.E.Harris: Neither of which were true. Rather, the rented portion of the factory has been downsized.

Spaces formerly known as ‘Europe’, ‘America’, ‘Africa’ and ‘Asia’ – together with the ‘A4 Room’ (the names all legacies from the organisation of statistical gatherings in the Rice Show) have now gone, but the Office, Yard and Kitchen, together with ‘Australia’, remain.

The stripped-out flooring and rig of the former dark space has gone some way to fitting out the future performance space of Australia’ and today, Stan’s Cafe hosted a ‘Paint Party’, replete with good pals, baked tatties and gallons of matt black to slap onto scrubbed walls. Here is some evidence of the day’s transformations;

(featuring the brush-wielding talents of Mick Diver; James, Craig & Charlotte of Stan’s Cafe; Tony Appleby; Olivia and Sam from Kindle; Iain Smith & Bharti Patel; Phil and Gareth from Little Earthquake; Jack Trow; Rochi Rampal; Chris Dugrenier and Adrian Baynes; Eve Yarker; the Rose Boys…)







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