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Plays neatly with the idea that, as in theatre, in religion and life we tend to only see what we want, or are directed to see.
– The Guardian
One of our most tirelessly inventive theatre companies...Stan's Cafe are breaking the mould of what theatre can and might be.
– The Guardian
... a busy, enjoyable good-humoured send-up of religious pageantry.
– The Times
The Cardinals christens itself an exploration of faith and religion.
– A Younger Theatre
In near silence, a trio of red-robed evangelizing cardinals perform their abbreviated version of the Bible, ably assisted by their young, Muslim, female stage-manager. But the frame of theatre is a bit too large, the props unruly, and mythologized history – from Genesis to the Crusades to the West Bank – will not serve easily to communicate their message of sacrifice and redemption. Odd and hilarious, Stan’s Cafe’s newest performance is an apparently simple meditation on the labour that goes into belief and the possibility of interfaith cooperation. Meticulously directed by master-craftsman James Yarker, The Cardinals presents a pageant of images struggling to determine their meaning.
Influential pioneers of UK theatre, Birmingham’s Stan’s Cafe creates diverse performances that range in scale from shows for a single audience member to massive durational installations like Of All the People in All the World, presented at World Stage in 2009, where tonnes of rice represent every human on the planet.
Stan’s Cafe is a Birmingham, UK-based company that often interrogates the past to better understand the present. They are a group of artists from a variety of disciplines, though primarily theatre practitioners, working under the artistic direction of James Yarker. The company consists of a core of long-term collaborators and a range of associated artists. A double Bill of Stan’s Cafe – Of All the People in All the World and The Cleansing of Constance Brown was presented at Harbourfront Centre in the World Stage 2008/09 season.
Robert Gill Theatre (214 College Street)
Presented in partnership with Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage
What do we talk about when we talk about the avant-garde? Join a class at the University of Toronto conducted by Professor Nikki Cesare Schotzko and Professor Lawrence Switzky and their special guests, Stan’s Cafe from Birmingham UK, to discuss where The Cardinals fits within experimental theatre and performance of the last 15 years. Among other topics, we will discuss puppetry and object performance, participatory theatre, the place of ritual in a technologized world, and the representation of global history and geography within the circumscribed space of the stage. This special session of “The Contemporary Avant-Garde” is free and open to the public.
Join us for a series of Pre-show Teas with our Harbourfront Centre Scholars-in-Residence. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to the opening performance of The Cardinals .
The first thing that strikes us about The Cardinals is its powerful evocation of Catholic belief—when many of us usually think of the modern theatre as a very secular place. But theatre is a church, in its way—and religion has always had a rich relationship with it, if a sometimes uneasy one. Join Harbourfront Centre Scholar-in-Residence Matthew Sergi for an open and free discussion-based session, presented in conjunction with two University of Toronto courses on religious drama, in which we will ask tough questions about early examples of dramatized belief (a Passion play, it turns out, is not what you think it is!). We will ask: how does religion find its place in present-day theatre? Does theatre have a place in religion?
The second performance of each World Stage production is followed by our talkshow event, where the artists connect with the audience outside their work, fielding questions with the moderation of their colleagues in the community. Admission is free with the purchase of a ticket to The Cardinals.