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Barbershop Chronicles (1 Jun-9 Jan 2018) Barbershop Chronicles (1 Jun-9 Jan 2018)
Barbershop Chronicles (1 Jun-9 Jan 2018)

Black-owned barbershops are more than just places to get a shave and a haircut. Their position in American culture is well-known: They’re places to talk about the events of the day, to swap stories — and, according to Vassar College history Professor Quincy Mills, to let African-American men become entrepreneurs.

 

These are the very stories that Inua Ellams hopes to bring to to live and to a wider audience in his latest production.

 

Newsroom, political platform, local hot-spot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world.

 

This dynamic new 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 Inua Ellams’ third play at the National, following the exhilarating The 14th Tale and Black T-shirt Collection.

 

The cast includes Fisayo Akinade, Hammed Animashaun, Peter Bankole, Maynard Eziashi, Simon Manyonda, Patrice Naiambana, Cyril Nri, Kwami Odoom, Sule Rimi, Abdul Salis, David Webber, and Anthony Welsh.

 

Let’s also not underestimate the role barbershops play within the community. As according to Kai Rydssal senior editor of website Marketplace “Barbering still serves as that avenue for black men, whether they want to own a barber shop or just work in [one]. But also, barber shops provide a sort of central hub, if you will, for different communities to understand the nature of their respective communities so that they can live in harmony.”

 

Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is a playwright, performer and graphic artist. He has published three pamphlets of poetry: ‘Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars’, ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ and ‘The Wire-Headed Heathen’. His first play ‘The 14th Tale’ (a one-man show which he performed) was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his third, ‘Black T-Shirt Collection’ ran at England’s National Theatre.

 

Barber Shop Chronicles, National Theatre, 30 May-8 July Click here for details and ticket information.