Friday, July 20, 2007



Stan's Cafe
Birmingham City Council: Creative City Award Winners 2007
International Development

Friday, July 13, 2007



Ana and I have spent a week in St.Alban's school working with Year 7 pupils making an animated video about the history of Birmingham. It's been semi-chaotic and mostly fun. Working in a school with 22 different first languages we were keen the piece would emphasis the part immigration has always played in the city's growth and evolution.

Amongst the final elements to be filmed were the credits. Each pupil signed their name or drew their 'tag' on a sheet of A4 paper with the excellent FrameThief running a one-shot-per-second timelapse to speed up the playback. I particularly enjoyed this element, a chance for self-expression in an otherwise ensemble effort. Most excellently provocative of all was the very quiet muslim girl, all wrapped up in her hijab, grabbing a black marker and confidently calligrafying LilMizFoxy.


Thursday, July 12, 2007


Radio Rice Calling

During the performances of Of All The People In All The World at Theatre Le Quai in Angers, France, the show's soundtrack Signalnet is gearing up a level as Jon experiments in ambient broadcasting live from the venue. When new statistics are added to the show the performers will broadcast them on a "tannoy"; not only will this be heard in the venue but it can now be heard live online via our new station Radio Rice.

It's a great opportunity to hear how Of All The People In All The World grows in real time, from local statistics that will be presented for the first time to the regular statistics that we know always make an impact with visitors. Exclusive to Radio Rice the performers will also be adding to the feed their own personal thoughts and observations about what's going on in the show.

Very simply, you can listen to Radio Rice live on your computer by downloading the player from or you can listen to it as a free podcast from the iTunes store. Give it try and let us know what you think.



Thursday, July 05, 2007



Late last night, waiting for a sugar rush to fade, I was idling around YouTube. Through a circuitous route I came across a great little thing. Only as the credits rolled did I discover that it was produced by the Belluard Festival from which we have just returned.

Well done them, again.



Wednesday, July 04, 2007



After an heroic tour of duty, including 49 performances, the Constance Brown team has finally been granted home leave. The set and props have been sent for some R&R deep in the Warwickshire countryside. Whilst it’s unclear who the cast will be mixing with between now and late August when they are mustered in Edinburgh, in storage the set is rubbing up against a set of quasi-illustrious neighbours: staging from Play Without Words, empty flight cases from Monkey Opera, a vast mess of metal that was once part of Les Miserables and boxes of 3D glasses from Starlight Express. These glasses have provoking my first desire to see that show – what must a show be like that's so flat you need special glasses to give it depth?

When we made Memoires of an Amnesiac our set was recycled from a TV show and thus more famous than we were, now we are going to have a set better connected than we are.



Workshop Frenzy

An email message from the Belluard Festival has arrived saying 500 students attended workshops around Of All The People In All The World through Monday and Tuesday. We’ve not heard from Heather and the team, presumably they are comatose in a Chateaux somewhere on the edge of town – good on them.


PS: I am ever mindful of Alexi Sayle's injunction against people using the term Workshop outside the context of light engineering but have yet to find an alternative.


Frankley Carnival 2007

On Monday the rain stopped and clouds parted over Frankley, Birmingham, for precisely the two hours requested to allow the School’s Carnival to be the triumph everyone’s efforts deserved it to be.

Last year Holly Hill Infant School blazed the trail by staging a Circus Carnival that involved the whole school, costumes, chanting, actions and a band. It was magnificent. Soon there was a clamour for an expanded carnival this year with neighbouring schools; the result was even more magnificent.

There were three bands, including a full-on Samba Team, an exuberant dancing section and four giant carnival costumes, which threatened to convert into gilded paragliders in the high winds. The increase in age range gave the carnival more diversity than last year. The Seasons’ theme gave the pupils a chance to pursue their own creative ideas whilst keeping a coherence to proceedings. There was an army of Snow Fairies, a host of trees with wind rustling their leaves, thunder clouds with lightening, rain drops and rainbows, fiery Suns, a platoon of Lady Birds, Green Shooting Grass with worms and earth, clumps of flowers surrounded by butterflies and bumble bees, whilst a shoal of silver scaled fish played a slippery samba.

The large-scale combination education, artistry and logistics delivered by Ana and her small team was deeply impressive. The engagement enjoyment of pupils, teachers and other school staff and support of parent was evident. A burst of sunshine was the least everyone deserved.

The only shame was that an executive decision was taken by Forestdale School to withdraw on Monday morning in fear of the weather. This decision robed the Carnival of even greater spectacle and the pupils the chance to share their efforts with the wider community.

Over the last two years Reaside School has been working on an extended project exploring and in some cases inventing, local mythologies. Now surely they have helped create their own mythology – the great Frankley Carnival of 07.


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