Playhouse's First Co-Production with National Theatre


A dynamic new play inspired by a real Leeds barber opens at West Yorkshire Playhouse on Wednesday July 12.

Barber Shop Chronicles, by rising literary star, Inua Ellams (Black T-Shirt Collection, National Theatre, The 14th Tale, Fringe First winner), centres around the conversations African men have in barber shops, and the role they play in their lives; from newsroom to political platform, local hot-spot to confession box, and preacher-pulpit to football stadium.

The play journeys from a barber shop in London, to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling.

Barber Shop Chronicles is a co-production between West Yorkshire Playhouse, the National Theatre and Fuel and is directed by Bijan Sheibani (A Taste of Honey, National Theatre, War Horse US tour, 2012-2014).

Inua researched the project in Africa, London and Leeds, where he met a barber from Stylistics barber shop in Chapeltown who inspired one of the play’s central characters.   

James Brining, Artistic Director of West Yorkshire Playhouse, said:

“It is significant that the Playhouse is creating work in partnership with the artistic beacon, the outstanding National Theatre, as well as cutting-edge theatre makers like Fuel. The characters in Barber Shop Chronicles are deftly connected across continents and narratives and the play brims with energy, wit and heart. It’s beautifully crafted by its exceptionally talented writer, Inua Ellams, who developed the show in Leeds and drew inspiration by the characters and culture of our city.”

The play runs in the Courtyard Theatre until 29 July.

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