Stan’s Cafe

Live Ballet on the Radio: The Nutcracker

In what could be a broadcasting first, listeners around the world will be invited to tune into live radio commentary of The Nutcracker performed by Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) on Thursday 29 November at 19:00 GMT (curtain up 19:30).

BRB are teaming up with theatre company Stan’s Cafe, whose characters - The Commentators – will describe all the action as it unfolds on stage as if they are watching a sporting event.

Positioned in the Royal Box, The Commentators will cut an unusual dash at Birmingham’s Hippodrome theatre in their sheepskin coats, wielding lip-microphones. Once the curtain goes up they will be invisible and inaudible in the auditorium but at home listeners will be treated to their valiant attempts to describe the famous spectacle .

David Bintley - Director of BRB says: “I’ve loved this idea ever since Stan’s Cafe first suggested it, it’s playful and witty and will be an entirely new way to experience one of the world’s most popular ballets.”

James Yarker - Artistic Director of Stan’s Cafe says: “The dancers have tremendous athletic ability, so watching the ballet as sport almost makes sense; of course in every other way it’s a ludicrous idea. Hopefully listeners at home will be able to follow The Nutcracker in their minds-eye and enjoy the absurdity it all.”

The Commentators say: “Excitement is really building here at the Hippodrome for the 8th performance of this season. The orchestra are tuning up and we’ve just been handed the team sheet which we’ll run through for you now.”

Listen to The Nutcracker live using the player below starting at 19:00 GMT, Thursday 29 November. Note this is a traditional ‘real time’ event, there will be no ‘listen again’ function, so everyone should be sure to tune in live for Ballet on the Radio.

commentators is on Mixlr

The Commentators: are creations of Stan’s Cafe and are preformed by Craig Stephens and James Yarker.

  • They first appeared providing uninterrupted coverage of a 24 hour Scalextric race in 2009.
  • They delivered exclusive commentary on the World Gurning championships in 2011.
  • In 2013 they covered the opening three days of the Library of Birmingham.
  • They appeared at The Public theatre in New York City. in 2015.
  • They are a regular and popular feature of the Moseley Folk Festival.