All Our Money: How local authorities generate and spend money?

The Exchange: 3 Centenary Square Birmingham B1 2DR
Tuesday 8 November 2022 (17:30-19:00)

Each year Birmingham City Council spends more than £3,000,000,000. But where does all this money come from and how do they decide where it all goes? What are the constraints and prioritisation dilemmas that council’s face every day?

In November, Stan’s Cafe made a pilot version of a play addressing these questions. Now, they are working with City Region Economic and Development Institute (City-REDI) at the University of Birmingham to make a full, in depth, nuanced version of this highly engaging show as an effort to bolster local democracy.

Together, they are seeking advice on what should be included in the show and opportunities to share the finished production. Longer term, the ambition is to adapt the show so it can address budgets set in local authorities around the country. This workshop will inform this process and be fun and thought provoking to attend.

First, you will watch filmed scenes from the play, which is a ‘comedy documentary’ depicting the constraints and prioritising dilemmas that face councils every day. Then, researchers from the University of Birmingham Business School will their share findings from recent analysis of the City Council’s budget and provide an opportunity for discussion. Attendees will be invited to share their thoughts on what they have seen and heard and help shape the next version of this play. 

Attendees will be invited to share their thoughts on what they have seen and heard and help shape the next version of this play.

The questions we will be looking to answer are:

  • What do you think is important for citizens to know about the budget?
  • What are your experiences of the budget-setting process?
  • How do you feel impacted by the decisions taken?
  • Is a play a good means of engaging people in this process of local democracy?


  • Alice Pugh, Policy and Data Analyst, City Region Economic and Development Institute (City-REDI), University of Birmingham
  • James Yarker, Artistic Director of Stan’s Cafe. Stan’s Cafe are an internationally acclaimed theatre company. They have toured the world since 2003, performing research led theatre productions, such as Of All The People In All The World.  

All are welcome to attend. Free online registration required. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. Open from 5:30pm for refreshments. Showing of the play starts at 6pm and will be followed by an interactive discussion.

This event is part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science. Spanning the months of October and November a range of interactive virtual and physical events will be free and open to the public.