About the show

Set in barbershops in Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Accra, and London, Barber Shop Chronicles welcomes you into this unique, intimate community where African men gather to discuss the world and their lives. These are places where the banter can be barbed but the truth is always telling. Following its critically acclaimed run at the Royal National Theatre in London, this “funny and joyous but equally poignant” play (The Guardian) will warm your heart.

Event information

Barber Shop Chronicles toured the U.S. and Canada from October 2018-January 2019. Stopovers included:

  • ASU Gammage (Tempe, AZ; Oct 13)
  • Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA (Los Angeles, CA; Oct 18-20)
  • Cal Performances (Berkeley, CA; Oct 26-28)
  • Seattle Theatre Group (Seattle, WA; Nov 1-3)
  • Stanford Live (Stanford, CA; Nov 8-10)
  • Grand Theatre (London, Canada; Nov 15-24)
  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, DC; Nov 28-Dec 1)
  • American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, MA; Dec 5 - Jan 5, 2019)
  • Hopkins Center for the Arts (Hanover, NH; Jan 17-19)

About the playwright

Inua Ellams was born in Nigeria in 1984 and moved to the UK as a child. He is a poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist and designer. He started performing in cafes in 2003 and has since worked in venues which include Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tate Britain, Theatre Royal Stratford and Glastonbury Festival. He has also undertaken several commissions, including those for Tate Modern, Soho Theatre and for the BBC's Politics Show. 

His first book was the best-selling poetry pamphlet, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales (2005), and in 2009 his debut play, The 14th Tale (2009), a partly autobiographical coming of age tale, won a Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Festival, toured, and ran at the National Theatre in 2010. His second play, Untitled (2010), toured in Autumn 2010. 

His creative work has been recognised with a number of awards, most recently, The Live Canon International Poetry Prize, an Arts Council of England Award, a Wellcome Trust Award, shortlisted for the Brunel Prize for African Poetry, longlisted for the Alfred Fagan Award, and a 2009 Edinburgh Fringe First.

He has been commissioned by the Tate Modern, Louis Vuitton, Chris Ofili, National Theatre, BBC Radio & Television, Battersea Arts Centre and Soho Theatre. His first two books of poetry Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales (2005) and Candy Coated Unicorn and Converse (2011) are available from Flipped Eye, and several plays including Black T-shirt Collection (2012), Knight Watch (2012) and Cape (2013) are available from Oberon. In 2005, he founded the Midnight Run, a cross art form nocturnal urban movement to reconnect inner city lives with inner city spaces. Inua Ellams lives and works in London.

Reviews and feature articles