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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 - 16 Nov 2019
Inua Ellams

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

Currently touring the UK tour. More dates to be announced soon!

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


Inua Ellams – Writer

Bijan Sheibani – Director

Rae Smith – Designer

Jack Knowles – Lighting Designer

Aline David – Movement Director

Gareth Fry – Sound Designer

Michael Henry – Musical Director

Lekan Lawal – Associate Director

Kwami Odoom – Assistant Choreographer

Louis Hammond CDG – Casting Director

Catherine Morgan – Associate Designer

Lydia Crimp – Costume Supervisor


"★★★★★ - 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

Thursday 18th Jul
- Saturday 24th Aug
Roundhouse Theatre, London
Thursday 26th Sep
- Sunday 29th Sep
Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Wednesday 9th Oct
- Saturday 12th Oct
Oxford Playhouse
Wednesday 16th Oct
- Saturday 19th Oct
Eden Court, Inverness
Wednesday 23rd Oct
- Saturday 9th Nov
The Lyceum, Edinburgh
Wednesday 13th Nov
- Saturday 16th Nov
Nuffield Southampton Theatres
Wednesday 20th Nov
- Saturday 23rd Nov
Leeds Playhouse

Project History