24 hour observation people

Stan’s Cafe theatre group moves in on the Rotunda.

Ships are moving on the high sea and nudging into dock. Planes are crossing time zones. Foreign exchanges and futures markets are shifting. Early morning workers are scuttling from New Street Station. Weather fronts are moving in. Social media threads are spinning.

Situated in the Rotunda, Ultraopticon is observing, reporting, recording …

Beginning Friday 19 January 202th4, at 6pm, Ultraopticon finds Stan’s Cafe nestled high above Birmingham’s streets for a unique one-off 24 hour performance.

From an exclusive vantage point in the city’s iconic Rotunda, unnamed agents – who, judging by the mess, appear to have been holed up in the apartment for some time – gaze out across the skyline and down into the streets below. Reporting on the world around them, their descriptions and observations are relayed in multiple languages, including Lithuanian, Bengali, Spanish and English.

Throughout the unbroken performance, visitors are invited to join this anonymous team of observers – both in-person and online – to see what they see, to look out with their telescopes and digital devices, to experience the city like they’ve never experienced it before.

Ultraopticon is watching all.

Opened in 1965, the cylindrical Grade II Listed Rotunda is an architectural icon in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre, a visual symbol of Britain’s Second City.

Featuring a rotating cast (and sound), Ultraopticon is a collaboration between Birmingham-based theatre company Stan’s Cafe and Staying Cool, whose portfolio includes boutique serviced apartments within the landmark building.

Previous Stan’s Cafe productions include All Our Money, a theatre show humorously explaining the complexities of council finances, and Of All The People In All The World, the internationally acclaimed performance installation that turns abstract population statistics into emotionally gripping stories using grains of rice.

Exploring themes of surveillance and information flow, Ultraopticon is part of the 2023-2024 Creative Heights II programme – a series of events celebrating Staying Cool’s 15 years at Rotunda.

Discussing the project, Producer Dominic Thompson, said: “Forty-five minute slots are available throughout the full 24 hour performance, so come watch the mountain of coffee cups and pizza boxes get higher as the observers try to keep watching the whole world.”

Tickets to visit Ultraopticon at Rotunda, New Street, Birmingham, must be pre-booked in advance. Running from 6pm, Friday 19 January 2024, to 6pm, Saturday 20 January 2024, slots are for 45 minutes each. To book, and to also access the free 24 hour live stream, see stans.cafe/ultraopticon/.