Kevin Sibley, founder of Mama’s Cupcakes and winner of the National Cupcake 2009 Cupcake-off 2009What do you do day-to-day?I’m a sole trader, heading my own business called Mamas Cupcakes. I started the business a little over a year ago after leaving work as a graphic designer to care for my mother who had cancer. Sadly, she died on New Year’s Eve 2008 and, in the following months, I gathered myself up and started to promote my business more. I designed a website www.mamas-cupcakes.co.uk so that I could sell cupcakes and fudge to order. My graphic design skills came into play here, as it did for all my labelling design too.I deliver the cakes myself within a 40-mile radius, as they are too delicate to courier! I also do farmers’ markets every weekend and my main sell there is homemade fudge. I take the cakes along, too, but that is mainly as a promotion, as I tend to cater for weddings, parties and celebrations. How did you get into baking?My mother taught me to bake from a very young age. I was making cakes from about the age of seven or eight. I’ve always had a passion for a good dessert and I love it that now I’m making cakes for a living, something that I really enjoy. It’s very creative so it satisfies that side of my nature too.Chart your career pathFor the past 12 years I have been a graphic designer and I still do a bit of freelance when time permits. The past 18 months has been concentrated on building Mamas Cupcakes. My long-term aim is to have a high-end tea/coffee house where my cupcakes will be my selling point. I’m looking at relocating, hopefully to Eastbourne. The key to a good café is to have good coffee and tea, both of which I have sourced; and if the cupcakes go down well too, hopefully I’ll be on to a winner!What was your training or education?In baking I am completely self-taught, with help from my mother, who was a great cook. She created many of her own recipes, which I have inherited. They’re very nostalgic recipes and I’m tempted to get them published one day – who knows?What have been your highlights since winning the cupcake-off?One function I catered for this year was the National Young Filmmakers’ Awards held in London. The boxed cakes were given as gifts to the awards presenters – celebrities such as Sienna Miller, Ben Miller, David Harewood and Ralph Little, among others. I’ve been interviewed on Gaydar radio, which was amusing, and for a couple of magazines. There has been more interest from customers and orders have certainly increased. It’s amazing what a title can do for you!
Times are good for Greensky Bluegrass fans. The band just revealed a full stream of their new album Shouted, Written Down & Quoted, due out officially on September 23rd. They’ve been smokin’ hot on their current fall tour, including a debut performance at the famed Capitol Theatre. And now, they’ve just announced plans to ring in the New Year.Greensky will return to the Royal Oak Music Theatre in Royal Oak, MI, playing two nights including December 30th and 31st. Tickets for fan club members are on sale now, and the full on sale will come this Friday, September 23rd, at 10 AM Eastern. The Michigan-based band’s return to their home state is always a treat for the longtime fans!For more information on the NYE run, check out the poster below, and then head here.
It is not often that an accounting class might find an actor from London hosting a workshop, but Shakespeare at Notre Dame’s Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS) program allows for that. This week, the five actors in the fall 2017 company are at Notre Dame for the residency portion of the program. They will be teaching Monday to Thursday this week and performing “Measure for Measure” Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night at Notre Dame and Saturday at the Westville Correctional Facility.As part of the program, the actors will be visiting 15 classrooms ranging from Irish history to theater to accounting. Photo courtesy of Marlon Deleon Five actors from London showcase their costumes. The group toured at universities across the country to share its insight with classes of all academic disciplines and perform ‘Measure for Measure.’“It’s a pretty amazing thing to see them engage disciplines across the academic spectrum, and then they all come together for the performance of ‘Measure for Measure,’” Scott Jackson, the program director of Shakespeare at Notre Dame, said.Jackson said that for many of the actors, the teaching component of the program can help further their career.“It takes them away from the stage and puts them in the classroom, often for the first time,” he said. “… A lot of our actors go on in their careers to become lecturers. For a lot of these guys it constitutes not a career shift, but definitely a career complement.”Professors enjoy having the actors run the workshops for a variety of reasons, Jackson said and the workshops typically fill about 45 minutes after he emails professors to tell them about the opportunity. John Duffy, associate professor of English who teaches a college seminar titled “Great Speeches,” said he has brought the actors into his classroom four times.“They are really exceptional at helping students realize the performative nature of speech,” he said. “I’m good at the academic stuff, the rhetorical theory and so forth, but the actors are brilliant at getting the students to try new things and break down their inhibitions.”Ram Ramanan, who teaches graduate classes in Mendoza, has also been hosting workshops in his classroom with an actor for several years and said he sees it as an opportunity to develop the professionalism and presentation skills of his students.“Our students have to go make presentations in their careers, some of which are fairly complicated financial and economic transactions, and I thought if they could read some Shakespeare, which is fairly complicated language, and learn to deconstruct it from the professionals, that would help them in their presentation skills,” he said.In addition to teaching classes, the five-person cast will perform “Measure for Measure,” which includes 20 characters. The cast members said they have enjoyed the experience of bringing the play to life.“The more we tear it apart, the more we perform it and explore it as a company, and the more we work on it with students at universities … [the more we realize] it’s a fascinating play with so many powerful themes,” cast member Ben Eagle said.With AFTLS, the cast must also cover roles outside of traditional acting.“We don’t have a director, we get to create from scratch, and we have responsibilities that I think we as actors tend to overlook, like costumes we’re responsible for, getting there on time, travel, media, etc., lighting,” cast member Wela Mbusi said. “We get to sort of understand the holistic thing of creating a piece of work.”The cast members said they are happy with the play.“We’re really proud of it,” Eagle said. “To put five actors in a room with a suitcase and then come out to America with a play, I’m really happy with what we’ve got.”The program includes performances at different universities including the University of Texas and DePauw University. Jackson said this travel experience is unique because it takes them to cities the actors might not visit otherwise.To select the cast, Jackson said AFTLS uses a traditional casting process but that special attention is paid to the personalities of the actors.“We call it the alchemy of the five,” he said. “You’ve got to make sure these five people will not only work really well together on stage but are they going to travel well together? Are they going to teach well?”Dominic Gerrard, a member of the cast, said the audition process was part of the reason he joined AFTLS.“The audition process was so enjoyable and so fun, so that was a good measure of what the actual job would be like,” he said.After the cast was finalized in mid-June, the company met once in July to get to know each other and do a read through. They began full rehearsals in August, Jackson said.“I think right up until the point we finish, it will be a really interesting journey,” Gerrard said.Tags: Actors from the London Stage, Measure for Measure, Shakespeare