Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre c. Marc Brenner
Barber Shop Chronicles at the National Theatre c. Marc Brenner

The runaway success of Inua Ellams’ highly acclaimed play Barber Shop Chronicles continues as today Kate McGrath, Director of Fuel, is delighted to confirm that Barber Shop Chronicles will tour the UK from March 2019.

Working closely with a national partnership of venues (including Leeds Playhouse, Birmingham Rep, Bristol Old Vic and Royal Exchange Manchester with Contact) Fuel is thrilled that the UK tour of Barber Shop Chronicles will be supported by a grant from Arts Council England. This support will help the production to attract new, young and diverse audiences with a minimum of 10% of all available tickets across the entire tour will be made available for free via local engagement initiatives aimed at young people who traditionally wouldn’t attend theatre performances.

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 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.

Kate McGrath, Director of Fuel, and Inua Ellams met in 2008, after Kate saw what became Inua’s first theatre show, The 14th Tale, at Battersea Arts Centre. Fuel helped Inua develop his debut play and produced it, premiering it at the Edinburgh Festival, winning a Fringe First, touring it in the UK and internationally and presenting it at the National Theatre. Since that first meeting, Fuel has worked closely with Inua, producing Untitled, Knight Watch, Long Song Goodbye, Black T-shirt Collection, The Spalding Suite, An Evening with an Immigrant, and now Barber Shop Chronicles. Fuel is also currently co-producing Inua’sHalf-God of Rainfall with Kiln Theatre in association with Birmingham Rep, which will open in April 2019, and Inua’s Three Sisters with The National Theatre, which will open in autumn 2019.

Kate McGrath said: “Everyone at Fuel is thrilled about this tour. We are hugely proud of this joyous and soulful production of Inua’s important and life-affirming play. We are particularly excited, given Fuel’s deep and longstanding dedication to national touring, to be working in partnership with a really strong range of venues and partners across the UK to bring this show to the widest possible audience around the country. It’s a brilliant opportunity, in particular, to develop Fuel’s commitment to growing young and diverse audiences for contemporary theatre nation-wide.”

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