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theatre music

Amplifying the map (2010)

Artists Kate Chapman, Charlotte Goodwin and Nina West worked with people who live, work and play in Cannon Hill Park to create an original and inventive series of audio walks which place the listener at the centre of each story.

There are three walks to choose from and an interactive map to look closely at all three routes. Visit the Amplifying the map website to follow the walks and download the MP3 tracks.

Walk through walls (2007)

Two audio-walks created by Kate Chapman and Charlotte Goodwin with original music from Nina West. One walk tracks through the Diglis area of the city - it's an old industrial area between canal and river now being developed as apartment blocks. Walk two (centred on Fort Royal Park and Wylds Lane) is more elegiac. The views from the Park take in the Malvern Hills and the (strangely over-polished) Cathedral. The rape of the 1960s - when four lane roads were driven through the medieval city dividing the centre from the Cathedral and riverside - is visible, but less immediate than the damage at Diglis.

Walk with me (2005)

In 2005 Nina wrote music for the interactive project ‘Walk With Me’, a sound-piece about the life of an urban park with dialogue by Kate Chapman and Charlotte Goodwin.

Final Steps (2010)

The smallest, most contained edition of the Steps Series so far, a chamber piece.

A barefoot figure gains consciousness outside a nightclub, Security are expecting them. Inside the an old friend begs for money, a band plays a lopsided tango, the singer is an old flame, a ring is returned and wagered on the turn of a card: a skull. Your footsteps evaporate at the top of a stair case that descends into smoke and infernal noise.

Final Steps was installed @ A E Harris to coincide with the British Dance Edition and remained through various events.

Apollo Steps (2010)

As part of Stan's Cafe's three year relationship with Domaine d'O the venue commissioned an edition of The Steps Series for their Ampitheatre. Where better than the South of France to attempt the first outdoor edition.

The curved stage with its high black backwall made us think of the surface of the moon and the night sky. The venue's seasons are programmed by phases of the moon rather than the conventional calander. The Greek style venue, everything pointed towards Apollo Steps.

Giant Steps (2009)

Giant Steps was inspired by seeing the fun that children had playing around with previous editions of the Steps Series targeted at adults. It was decided to make a piece targeted at four year olds, which could also be enjoyed by their families. Installed in Stan's cafe own space @ A E Harris this was the first edition in a dedicated space with dedicated staffing, both a rare treat.

The heart of the show was the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk marked out in vinyl. Additional fairytale elements were added around the central story. Audiences can turn up at any time, on their own or with any number of friends.

Spy Steps (2009)

For a month, Spy Steps changed the character of the University of Warwick's campus. Vinyl figures suggest security is heightened. German Shepherd dogs are on patrol and guards with binoculars stand at windows. Vinyl foot prints, hand prints and other symbols applied across Warwick Arts Centre tell the story of the final scenes of a Bond style adventure. By following different coloured prints visitors can trace different character's journeys through the action. By exploring the building the contribution of extras can be found and in collaboration with friends this fictional film's dramatic finale can be acted out in real time.

The Cleansing of Constance Brown (2007)

Commissioned by Wiener Festwochen and Warwick Arts Centre/Fierce!, the show is performed virtually without words. It opened in Warwick in May 2007 before transferring to Vienna, and has since played in Cork, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Cologne, Montpellier and Mainz.

The themes are power, the power of people who inhabit the rooms opening off this corridor and cleansing, the cleansing of a woman, Constance Brown, who appears to have lived in all ages, both here and around the globe.

» More Information on Stan's Cafe website

Be Proud of Me (2004)

A man has been sent on a mission across Europe by a mysterious organisation.

Something very bad has happened, but a crumbling memory refuses to let him recall things clearly.

The mysterious Mr. Nowicki, a sister he misses, a woman - the chemist - his lover, a hotel he's sure he's already checked into, a plane he's destined never to catch, a briefing room where he's made to rehearse small talk, a doctor who sells a dangerous kind of health insurance, a necklace glinting in the moonlight. Scenes and characters dissolve into each other back and forth through time.

Comfort Hour (2002)

The second in the ‘Pieces for the Radio’ series, Comfort Hour was recorded and mixed live late one night in the Stan‘s Cafe studio during rehearsals for Lurid and Insane. It was first broadcast on People‘s Radio Freedom.

The CDs are available for £8.00 each (incl. P.& P.), Cheques payable to Stan‘s Cafe should be sent to; Stan's Cafe, PO Box 10153, Birmingham B12 8XH.

Alternatively you can buy from the Stan's Cafe website using PayPal.

Lurid and Insane (2001 - 2002)

The title is lifted from an obituary in The Independent, long before the show was concieved of. Jean-Bedel Bokassa crowned himself Emperor of the Central African Republic in a ceremony described as "Pure pantomime, lurid and insane". Eventually we returned to the subject of the obituary as a starting point for what, at some point, clearly had to become a musical, kind of.

Set in a political rally it shows how a charismatic, newly elected president is consumed by ego and becomes a deranged dictator. The story develops in the course of a concert. The President's cabinet are a band, he is the lead singer and the audience are members of the ruling party.

It's Your Film (1998)

An act of Victorian illusion, a fairground ride, a peep show, a piece of live cinema... it's your film is a three minute long performance staged for an audience of one. Now one of Stan's Cafe's most popular shows, it has now been performed in France, Estonia, Lithuania, Croatia, Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Macedonia, Italy, Spain and the UK.

It looks like a film and yet is perfomed live by two actors. More than its ellusive narrative, the piece is about what an audience contributes in the act of viewing. It is about watching and being watched, acts of illusion, imagination and perspective.

Ocean of Storms (1996)

Ocean of Storms is an hour long theatre piece, inspired by the rich metaphoric potential of space travel. It uses a loose narrative of two quasi-angels searching for a small girl lost in a city, to explore a range of ideas about home, proximity and intimacy.

Two female figures on a steel mesh set.

A delicate model of the earth is unpacked from a silver flight case, tea making equipment from another.

The two figures act as satellites, relaying half telephone conversations that mesh, initially sounding like dialogues before drifting apart with comic, sometimes poignant, effect.