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’s Half-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.”

Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining said: “We are delighted to further develop our partnership with Fuel through the tour of this brilliant production which made such a huge impact on its first outing in Leeds. It’s terrific that more audiences will have the chance to experience the show throughout the UK and more so that Leeds Playhouse audiences another chance to experience it after a hugely successful response internationally. The story has roots in Leeds and the Playhouse is in the unique position on the journey of the show of being both an originating co-producer and a venue for the upcoming tour. We can’t wait to share a production which continues to be admired and loved by warm and generous audiences around the world, especially as part of our “Welcome Back” Season following our redevelopment project.”

Further details, including casting information about the spring 2018 tour of Barber Shop Chronicles will be announced in due course.

The production is directed by Bijan Sheibani, designed by Rae Smith, with lighting design by Jack Knowles, movement direction by Aline David and sound design by Gareth Fry.

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.

The tour has received National Lottery funding through Arts Council England’s Project Grants programme.

Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, in partnership with Contact
March 7th – 23rd 2019

Leicester Curve
April 3rd – 6th 2019

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
April 24th – 27th 2019

Bristol Old Vic
May 1st – 18th 2019

Sheffield Crucible
May 22nd – June 1st 2019

Leeds Playhouse
September 4th – 21st 2019

Oxford Playhouse
October 9th – 12th 2019

Nuffield Southampton Theatres
November 13th – 17th 2019