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Southampton Social Media Surgery Social Media Surgery on Sat 2 Jul.


@gabysslave's photo of the office refurb

@gabysslave's photo of the office refurb

A complete cheat on my part, as I wasn’t there, but I do believe this is what @graphiquillan‘s been waiting for 🙂

As I understand, these hardworking workmen are refurbing the Aqulia offices.

My dort is a very active child.  Over the years she’s learnt an instrument, swam, trampolined, danced and danced ooh, all sorts.  But nothing, no nothing, has absorbed and enthralled her like Stage 2. 

A youth theatre company set up and run in Birmingham, it has been going for over 20 years.    As is so very often the case, it is the work of an incredibly driven and talented woman, Liz Light. 

Of course youth theatre is all very well.  Take a few keen, stage struck youngsters, find some nice easy pieces and put one on each year.  Not so with Stage 2.  I can honestly say they have provided some of the best and none of the worst nights I’ve had at the theatre. 


The most recent highlight for me being Spoonface Steinberg featuring amongst others my dort and niece.  In which 24 children take on a monologue and move the audience through the journey of an autistic girl dying of cancer. A close second is the production of Teechers in which my nephew reduced me (and other audience members) to tears, with his moving portrayal of Salty.  Perhaps the most memorable for me was Picasso’s Women, produced in 2000, this was a fine and typical example of how Stage 2 manages to pick challenging plays for adults and get children to convince you they are in fact real.

Birmingham has a gem in Stage 2 and a jewel in Liz Light and I say a huge thank you for the experiences and chances you are offering to my dort and for the very many delightful theatre productions you have given to me…

[… oh and if you have a child over the age of 7, get yourself down to the Birmingham School of Acting on a Saturday – you are unlikely to regret it.]

022Shockingly my first visit to the building site that is mac, was on a snowy February day.  Sadly no evidence of anyone actually working on it – mind you it was a bit nippy.

My old office in the Hexagon - above the theatre...  Nice new windows.

My old office in the Hexagon - above the theatre... Nice new windows.

The City Council are attempting to get feedback from the people of Birmingham on their Big City Plan.

That in itself seems quite ambitious to me.  However, the plan is really quite hard to penetrate and the feedback mechanisms do not encourage a deepening of understanding or indeed a conversation.

Well it seems some of my very impressive social web friends in Birmingham decided they could do something about this.  They created a place to talk about the Big City Plan .  And not only does this (online) place allow you to add comments to every section of the plan – which is great, it also allows you to see other people’s comments and therefore develop rather than repeat the conversation – which is also great.  But most impressive of all, these fine people have completely re-written the plan in plain English and posted it alongside the original. 

So, I hear some of you say, where do these people get the brass neck to walk all over the council’s work.  To which I say, what a fantastic privilege for Birmingham to have such active and passionate citizens that they would put so many of their own hours into such a project.

A group of volunteers from the Birmingham Bloggers’ Group has built this site and put this document into plain English, because we wanted a place to discuss the issues and options and help each other (and everyone) understand the Big City Plan.

The site was built by Jon Bounds, and he along with Nick Booth, Nicky Getgood, Julia Gilbert and Michael Grimes have written the plain English text. The help and support of a large number of the Birmingham online community was very much needed and appreciated, especially Stef Lewandowski who has blogged extensively about the Big City Plan.

I want to say an enormous THANK YOU to you all, you have my utmost admiration.  I just hope the council refrain from becoming territorial and incoporate the feedback on this site to their process…


This is a truly inspirational website.

At the Creative City Awards
At the Creative City Awards

This is a photo of a video clip which was run at the Creative City Awards (Nov 08).  All I can say is I clicked too soon. The next frame superimposed the exciting and creative logo for the event, which friends of mine love so much.  So sorry I missed that for you [Shona], workmen and inspiring graphic design in one shot would have summed up my November…


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