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Barber Shop Chronicles

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Written by
Inua Ellams
Directed by
Bijan Sheibani
Age recommendation
Running time
1 hour 45 minutes, no interval.
5 Dec - 1 Jun 2019
Inua Ellams

A Fuel, National Theatre and Leeds Playhouse co-production.

Currently touring the US and Canada. UK tour to commence in 2019.

For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops. Sometimes they have haircuts, sometimes they listen, more often than not they talk. Barber shops are confession boxes, political platforms, preacher-pulpits and football pitches… places to go for unofficial advice, and to keep in touch with the world.

Fuel has produced Inua Ellams’ work for theatre since his debut play nine years ago. Barber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful new play, set in Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Accra and London. The play invites the audience into a uniquely masculine environment where the banter may be barbed, but the truth always telling.

The barbers of these tales are sages, role models and father figures, they are the glue that keeps men together.

Co-commissioned by Fuel and the National Theatre. Development funded by Arts Council England with the support of Fuel, National Theatre Studio, Leeds Playhouse, The Binks Trust,  British Council ZA, Oran Mor and A Play, a Pie and a Pint.

To read about the first iteration of this project, see Inua Ellams’ Fast Cuts and Snapshots

Written by Inua Ellams
Directed by Bijan Sheibani
Designed by Rae Smith


"★★★★★ - Such an ambitious piece and so life-affirmingly realised. "

The Independent

"Exuberant, Invigorating... and richly enjoyable drama."

The Guardian

"Rich and exhilarating... The tone of the play shifts fluidly from comedy to poignancy to rage."

The Stage

ABB73C5B-A51C-4932-BDF3-C60C9D79146A Created with sketchtool.

Select a performance

Tuesday 12th Mar
- Saturday 23rd Mar
Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
Wednesday 3rd Apr
- Saturday 6th Apr
Curve Theatre, Leicester
Thursday 2nd May
- Saturday 18th May
Bristol Old Vic, Bristol
Wednesday 22nd May
- Saturday 1st Jun
Sheffield Crucible, Sheffield
Thursday 18th Jul
- Sunday 25th Aug
Roundhouse Theatre, London

Project History