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Barber Shop Chronicles

A co-production with Fuel & West Yorkshire Playhouse

a new play by Inua Ellams

Returns 29 November
Running Time: about 1 hour 45 minutes. There is no interval.

Barber Shop Chronicles

One day. Six cities. A thousand stories.

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 leaps 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.

Limited ticket availablity for the current run until 8 July (£20 Friday Rush tickets and £15 Day Tickets available).

Barber Shop Chronicles will return to the National Theatre in November. Tickets are on sale now.

Also playing at West Yorkshire Playhouse 12 – 29 July (link opens in a new window)



Co-commissioned by Fuel and the National Theatre. Development funded by Arts Council England with the support of Fuel, National Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Binks Trust, British Council ZA, Òran Mór and A Play, a Pie and a Pint.


      West Yorkshire Playhouse

5 star rating

Joyous. Brilliantly acted. Life-affirming. Go.

5 star rating

Rich and exhilarating. A fascinating peek into the barber shop.

The Stage
4 star rating

Throbs with energy and heat. Full of sadness and great joy.

Daily Telegraph
4 star rating

This wonderful new play is a revelation.

The Times
4 star rating

Exuberant. Invigorating. First-rate acting. A debating chamber where you shed your locks but regain your identity.

4 star rating

Funny, fast, thoughtful, moving. An absolute cracker.

Financial Times
4 star rating

Vivid and energetic. Take a seat at a revolutionary barber’s shop.'

Evening Standard
4 star rating

Warmth, wisdom and global reach.

Sunday Times
4 star rating

Remarkable. Terrific. A cut above the rest.

4 star rating

Sharp-edged. Hugely fun.

Time Out
4 star rating

Energetic. Rousing. Authentic.


Barber Shop Chronicles | Audience Reactions

What do audiences think of Barber Shop Chronicles, our new play by Inua Ellams?

More info

Ticket prices and Access performances

Mon – Thu evenings & all matinees
£35, £30, £25, £15
Fri & Sat evening
£40, £35, £25, £18

Access performances

Captioned performances: 
Thursday 6 July, 8pm
Captioned performances have subtitles on screens at the front of the auditorium so that deaf, hard of hearing or non-english speaking people can also enjoy the performance.

Audio-described performances:
Friday 7 July,  8pm
Saturday 8 July 2pm (Touch Tour 12.45pm)
These performances have a live audio-description of what is happening onstage that can be heard through headphones. This is so that blind or visually impaired people can also enjoy the performance. A Touch Tour is for blind people to touch the set to familiarise themselves ahead of the performance. 

Barber Shop Chronicles | What's it all about?

We sat down with playwright Inua Ellams, and some of the actors, during rehearsals to hear their thoughts on Barber Shop Chronicles.

More info

Barber Shop Chronicles | Question Time: Part One

The first of two chats with the Barber Shop Chronicles cast inside the barber shop that inspired the production.

More info

Barber Shop Chronicles | In the rehearsal room

See into the rehearsal room and hear from the actors about the music and movement in the production.

More info

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Barber Shop Chronicles | Question Time: Part Two

The second of two chats with the Barber Shop Chronicles cast inside the barber shop that inspired the production.

More info

Barber Shop Production Gallery

In conversation with… Inua Ellams

Barber Shop Chronicles opens 30 May, ahead of that, here’s an interview with the writer of the piece, Inua Ellams.

Read blog post

Inua Ellams pre-show talk

Barber Shop Chronicles Rehearsal Gallery

Barber Shop Chronicles | Cyril Nri at Peter's barber shop

Barber Shop writer Inua Ellams and cast member Cyril Nri have the same barber, Peter. Conversations in his shop inspired the play, so here he is doing what barbers do best: cutting hair and having a chat.

More info


Production team

Artwork photography by Dean Chalkley

Help Centre

For general ticket information

Browse the frequently asked questions for tickets

For general ticket information

Browse the frequently asked questions for tickets