Elspeth Murray, 11 January 2016

Called by: James Yarker (Stan's Cafe)

Attended by: Susie, Claire, Roisin, Derek, Jo, Charlotte, Caroline, Kalila, Jenny,

Louisa, Rochi, Frances and undeclared others.

Stan's Cafe is looking to celebrate its 25th Birthday by revising/reviving its Gift Session

open workshops in 2016. How is this best done? These are the conclusions of this

group consultation:

Fortnightly sessions, but rotating different times and days of the week, to

accommodate different availabilities.

These sessions can be thought of as ‘keeping fit’ or ‘doing class’ for theatre

practitioners. They will also be a chance for solo artists to get some time in a room

with others.

They should be genuinely open access, setting out clearly what will be happening in

the sessions not who they would suit. The implication should be that they are not for

‘absolute beginners’.

The invitation should welcome musicians and dancers keen on working in a theatre


The atmosphere should embrace first time attendees and those who do not know

others in the room. This would be achieved by starting with a simple warm up, then

doing the work and concluding with a social session.

Leadership of the sessions would lie principally with Stan's Cafe but would be flexible

to accommodate other artists, there is a particular opportunity to engage artists visiting


Ownership of ideas that could turn into a show could pose a problem and thus will

have to be dealt with in a very open and honest way from the outset.

The sessions should be promoted via: Mid*point, BCT, Equity, Theatre Cuppa,

Creative Black Country, Friction Art's Hashtag, Arena Wolverhampton, The REP

Foundry artists BrumArtsHour and the City Council's Arts Newsletter. If we are clever

we could manage some carpooling.

There should be no limit on numbers in the first instance in order to attract the

broadest range of people. After the first session experience suggests that attendees

will become self-selecting.


Free, FREE, Diversity., workshops, Birmingham, free, Workshops, networking,

Improvisation, Practicing, birmingham, Networking, improvisation