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Barber Shop Chronicles

A co-production with Fuel & West Yorkshire Playhouse

a new play by Inua Ellams

Opens 30 May
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.

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

Talks and events

Spoken Word and Monologues in Black Theatre Sat 10 June, 2pm - 5pm
On Screen: Chris Rock's Good Hair Mon 12 June, 6 – 7.30pm
Inua Ellams on Barber Shop Chronicles Mon 19 June, 6.30pm - 7.15pm
Men and Mental Health Tue 20 June, 6pm - 7pm


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


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

Ticket prices and Access performances

Mon – Thu evenings & all matinees
£35, £30, £25, £15
Fri & Sat evening
£40, £35, £25, £18
Ways to save:
Previews 30 May & 31 May
£30, £25, £20, £15


Access performances

Captioned performances: 
Thursday 22 June, 2pm
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. 

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

Spoken Word and Monologues in Black Theatre

A chance to understand the context of spoken word and monologues in black theatre through this detailed symposium. 

Sat 10 June, 2pm - 5pm, Cottesloe Room, £25/£20

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Spoken Word and monologues in black theatre

Men and Mental Health

A pre-show talk discussing themes in the play revolving around black masculinity and men and mental health. 

Tue 20 June, 6pm - 7pm, Cottesloe Room, £6/£5

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Men and mental health

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

On Screen: Chris Rock's Good Hair

★★★★ 'All comedy should be this smart' Total Film

A raucous adventure prompted by Rock's daughter approaching him and asking, 'Daddy, how come I don't have good hair?', Good Hair shows Chris Rock engaging in frank, funny conversations with hair-care professionals, beauty shop and barbershop patrons, and celebrities including Ice-T, Nia Long, Paul Mooney, Raven Symon, Dr. Maya Angelou, Salt-N-Pepa, Eve and Reverend Al Sharpton all while he struggles with the task of figuring out how to respond to his daughter's question.

Monday 12 June, 6 – 7.30pm, Cottesloe Room, £5/£3

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Chris Rock Good Hair Documentary

Inua Ellams on Barber Shop Chronicles

A unique opportunity to listen to poet, performer, graphic artist, designer, and playwright Inua Ellams discuss the world premiere of his new play Barber Shop Chronicles in a pre-show talk. This is Inua's third play at the National following the exhilarating The 14th Tale and Black T-shirt Collection.

Mon 19 June, 6.30pm - 7.15pm, Dorfman Theatre, £5/£4

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Inua Ellams pre-show talk

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