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Inua Ellams' BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES Begins Tonight at West Yorkshire Playhouse

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BARBER SHOP CHRONICLES, a new play by Inua Ellams, just finished a run at the National Theatre through 8 July 2017, in a co-production with Fuel and West Yorkshire Playhouse.

Directed by Bijan Sheibani, Barber Shop Chronicles will then play at West Yorkshire Playhouse from tonight 12 to 29 July 2017.

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 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.

Barber Shop Chronicles is Inua Ellams' third play at the National, following the exhilarating The 14th Tale and Black T-shirt Collection.

The cast includes Fisayo Akinade, Hammed Animashaun, Peter Bankole, Maynard Eziashi, Simon Manyonda, Patrice Naiambana, Cyril Nri, Kwami Odoom, Sule Rimi, Abdul Salis, David Webber, and Anthony Welsh.

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

Barber Shop Chronicles is 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.

The National Theatre is dedicated to making the very best theatre and sharing it with as many people as possible. We produce productions on the South Bank in London each year, ranging from re-imagined classics to modern masterpieces and new work by contemporary writers and theatre-makers. The National's work is seen on tour throughout the UK, in London's West End, internationally (including on Broadway) and in collaborations and co-productions with theatres across the country.

Across 2015-2016, the NT staged 34 productions and gave 3,134 performances in the UK and internationally. The NT's award-winning programme had a UK audience of 2.5 million, 700,000 of which were NT Live audiences.

The Clore Learning Centre at the NT is committed to providing programmes for schools, young people, families, community groups and adult learners, including the nationwide youth theatre festival Connections and playwriting competition New Views. In 2015-2016, we engaged with over 181,000 participants through the NT Learning events programme. Further, over 2,200 secondary schools have signed up to the free streaming service, On Demand. In Schools since its launch in September 2015. Visit nationaltheatre.org.uk or follow @nationaltheatre for more.

Fuel aims to catalyse positive change in the world by producing new live performance by inspiring theatre makers for and with people across the UK and beyond. We seek to realise this vision by producing a programme of artistic work inspired by the ambition of the outstanding artists we support. Founded in 2004 and based at Somerset House, London, Fuel works locally, nationally and internationally to develop, create and tour new performance to the widest possible audience. Fuel is a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England, and a registered charity. Go to fueltheatre.com and follow @FuelTheatre.

West Yorkshire Playhouse has a reputation both nationally and internationally as a leading UK producing theatre. The theatre is a cultural hub, a place where people gather to tell and share stories and to engage in world class theatre. From large scale spectacle to intimate performance The Playhouse develops and makes work for the stage, for found spaces, for touring, for schools and community venues. Alongside work for the stage The Playhouse is dedicated to providing creative engagement opportunities, building and running sustainable projects that reach out to a diverse range of communities. Supporting new and emerging artists is key and the theatre provides creative space for new writers, directors and individual theatre makers to refine their practice.

The Playhouse's Spring / Summer 2017 Season includes Pygmalion, a radical new staging of Bernard Shaw's classic, directed by Sam Pritchard and coproduced with Headlong and Nuffield Southampton Theatres. Romeo and Juliet, a fresh new production capturing the impact of raging intergenerational conflict and social unrest in a sharply resonant present-day setting directed by Amy Leach. The Graduate, a new stylish co-production with Curve in association with Simon Friend and Gavin Kalin Productions, directed by Lucy Bailey. Lifeboat by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company which visits community venues across Leeds following its Playhouse staging; a powerful contemporary staging of The Grapes of Wrath directed by Abbey Wright and co-produced with Nuffield Southampton Theatres, Nottingham Playhouse and Royal & Derngate Northampton. Ode to Leeds directed by West Yorkshire Playhouse's Artistic Director, James Brining. A new play by Zodwa Nyoni inspired by the story of the city's renowned spoken word poetry group Leeds Young Authors. Barber Shop Chronicles written by Inua Ellams invites audiences into the barber's chair across Africa and the UK, in a co-production with National Theatre and Fuel directed by Bijan Sheibani. Visit wyp.org.uk and follow on Twitter: @wyplayhouse and Facebook: westyorkshireplayhouse.


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