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Barber Shop Chronicles

Written by
Inua Ellams
Directed by
Bijan Sheibani
Age recommendation
Running time
1 hour 45 minutes, no interval.
26 Sep - 8 Dec 2019
Inua Ellams

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

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 invited 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/Stella Odunlami – Associate Directors

Kwami Odoom – Assistant Choreographer

Louis Hammond CDG – Casting Director

Catherine Morgan – Associate Designer

Lydia Crimp – Costume Supervisor

Andrew Whiteoak – WHAM Supervisor

Kev McCurdy – Fight Director

Peter Atakpo – Barber Consultant

Charmian Hoare – Company Voice Work

Hazel Holder – Dialect Coach


Micah Balfour – Winston/Shoni

Okorie Chukwu – Elnathan/Benjamin/Dwain

Maynard Eziashi – Musa/Andile/Mensah

Adé Dee Haastrup – Wole/Kwabena/Simon

Emmanuel Ighodaro – Tokunbo/Paul/Simphiwe

Demmy Ladipo – Wallace/Timothy/Mohammed/Tinashe

Mohammed Mansaray – Samuel

Tom Moutchi – Kwame/Fabrice/Brian/Olawale

Anthony Ofoegbu – Emmanuel

Elmi Rashid Elmi – Ethan

Eric Shango – Tanaka/Fiifi

David Webber – Abram/Ohene/Sizwe


"★★★★★ - 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

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Project History