The Royal Exchange Theatre and Contact present a co-production between Fuel, the National Theatre and Leeds Playhouse

Barber Shop Chronicles

★★★★★ Upstaged Manchester ★★★★ The Nubian Times ★★★★ The GM Reviewer ★★★★ North West End ★★★★ Upstage Reviews

  • Written by Inua Ellams. Directed by Bijan Sheibani
  • 7 March 2019 - 23 March 2019
  • The Theatre

One day. Six cities. A thousand stories.

For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops. Sometimes they have haircuts, sometimes they listen, more often than not they talk. Barber shops are confession boxes, political platforms, preacher-pulpits and football pitches... places to go for unofficial advice, and to keep in touch with the world.

Fuel has produced Inua Ellams’ work for theatre since his debut play nine years ago. Barber Shop Chronicles is a heart-warming, hilarious and insightful play, set in Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Accra and London. The play invites the audience into a uniquely masculine environment where the banter may be barbed, but the truth always telling.

The barbers of these tales are sages, role models and father figures, they are the glue that keeps men together.

★★★★'This wonderful new play is a revelation' The Times (National Theatre 2017)

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

  • Event Information
  • VENUE: The Theatre

    PERFORMANCE DATES: Thursday 7 March - Saturday 23 March 2019

    PERFORMANCE TIMES: Matinees, 2.30pm / Evenings, 7.30pm. 
    View all times & dates

    TICKET INFORMATION: Standard Tickets from £18.50
    View all ticket prices


    RUNNING TIME: 1 hours and 45 minutes, no interval.

    BOOK TICKETS: Book Online or call the Box Office on 0161 833 9833 


    Members get Priority Booking for each season as well as for additional events. You can find out about Membership here.

    With your support, we can make brilliant theatre, tell stories, nurture new talent, and help as many people as possible get involved. 

  • Creative Team
  • WRITER Inua Ellams

    DIRECTOR Bijan Sheibani

    DESIGNER Rae Smith




    CASTING Louis Hammond CDG

    BSL INTERPRETER Alex Macdonald

  • Related Events
    Join the cast of BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES in a Q&A

    Friday 15 March, 12.30pm - 1.30pm 
    Tickets £5 - for members only
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online

    More Information about becoming a member 

    Tuesday 12 March, following 7.30pm show. 
    No need to book tickets for the discussion.
    Book tickets to the performance

    Like an informal, friendly book club, but for plays
    Saturday 23 March, 4.30pm - 7.00pm 
    Tickets are free but please book a place.
    Book Tickets: 0161 833 9833 / online
    More Information about Theatre Club

  • Accessible Performances
  • If you require our BSL, Audio Described or Captioned services, please book directly with Box Office. This is because there are often specific seats, which are held for each show to ensure you have the best experience possible. 

    You can call on 0161 833 9833 or email at

    AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday 23 March, 2.30pm 

    BSL PERFORMANCE: Friday 15 March, 7.30pm. Interpreter Alex Macdonald 

    CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Friday 22 March, 7.30pm 

    RELAXED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday 19 March, 2.30pm BOOK TICKETS

    Click here for more information about our accessible performances

    PLEASE NOTE - if a performance is marked as SOLD OUT - there may still be access seats available - so do get in touch. 

  • B .

  • Winston/ Shoni

    Michael Balogan

    Kwame/ Fabrice/ Brian

    Tobi Bamtefa

    Musa/ Andile/ Mensah

    Maynard Eziashi

    Olawale/ Wole/ Kwabena/ Simon

    Adé Dee Haastrup

    Tokunbo/ Paul/ Simphiwe

    Emmanuel Ighodaro

    Wallace/ Timothy/ Mohammed/ Tinashe

    Demmy Ladipo


    Mohammed Mansaray

    Tanaka/ Fifi

    Rudolphe Mdlongwa


    Elander Moore


    Anthony Ofoegbu

    Elnathan/ Ensemble

    Jo Servi

    Abram/ Ohene/ Sizwe

    David Webber

  • ★★★★★ "Perceptive and flying free from political correctness, Ellams’ dialogue is sharp and laugh-out-loud funny." Kristy Stott, Upstaged Manchester

    ★★★★★ "Barber Shop Chronicles is electric and will fuel your body with emotion for days" Jess Stoddard, Jess's Random World

    ★★★★ "An outstanding evening of entertainment casting an intriguing light on how a seemingly ordinary business function serves such an extraordinary purpose." The GM Reviewer

    ★★★★ "Never falling into momentary lulls, the acting is consistently engaging with a balance of up-beat dancing, relaxed and reflective conversations, before all crescendos into an intense soliloquy about what it means to be a strong black man and fatherhood." The Nubian Times

    ★★★★ "The striking choreography of Kwami Odoom, using skidding barber’s chairs and flapping capes created colour and beauty, played out against an eclectic mix of musical styles from London to Johannesburg. It made for an intoxicating spectacle." Paul Wilcox, North West End 

    ★★★★ "a superbly well-constructed and entertaining production, cut and styled to near perfection." Matt Barton, Upstage Reviews

    "It's a wonderful piece of theatre that can be both joyful and dark; both entertaining and deeply thoughtful about important issues." David Chadderton, British Theatre Guide 

    "Never have I been so sure I would adore a production simply from the pre-set. The music and atmosphere on stage was electric" Anuli Changa, The Mancunion

    "Brilliantly funny, visually electric and positively fizzing with energy" Caroline Steiner, Unrestricted views

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