Set in black barber shops in England and in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana, Barber Shop Chronicles tells the story of the relationship between barbers and their clients.
Over the course of a day where Chelsea play Barcelona in the finals of a championship, we visit five African cities – Johannesburg, Kampala, Lagos, Harare and Accra – and London in a compilation of snapshot scenes that reveal the many connections between these various places, spaces and their clientele, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between Africans living in London and those on the African continent.
Barber Shop Chronicles is a story with a big heart and plenty of laughter. With all characters connected in some way, be it through family, place, history or a common joke. At the centre of the plot is the story of Samuel and Emmanuel at Three Kings barbers in London, where the day represents the three-year anniversary of Samuel’s father’s imprisonment for, as Samuel later discovers, stealing from the business. Alongside this narrative the play explores contemporary black masculinity across the six countries, raising children, education, supporting football teams, sex, marriage and homosexuality.
Samuel Fisayo Akinade
Wallace / Timothy / Mohammed / Tinshe Hammed Animashaun
Kwabena / Brian / Fabrice / Olawale Peter Bankolé
Musa / Andile / Mensah Maynard Eziashi
TanaKa / Fiifi Simon Manyonda
Tokunbo / Paul / Simphiwe Patrice Naiambana
Emmanuel Cyril Nri
Ethan Kwami Odoom
Elnathan / Benjamin / Dwain Sule Rimi
Kwame / Simon / Wole Abdul Salis
Abram / Ohene / Sizwe David Webber
Winston / Shoni Anthony Welsh
Director Bijan Sheibani
Designer Rae Smith
Lighting Designer Jack Knowles
Movement Director Aline David
Sound Designer Gareth Fry
Music Director Michael Henry
Fight Director Kev McCurdy
Barber Consultant Peter Atakpo
Company Voice Work Charmian Hoare
Dialect Coach Hazel Holder
Staff Director Stella Odunlami
Dramaturgs Sebastian Born, Tom Lyons
Barber Shop Chronicles was co-commissioned by Fuel and the National Theatre. Development funded by Arts Council England with the support of Fuel, National Theatre Studio, West Yorkshire Playhouse, The Binks Trust, British Council ZA, Òran Mór and A Play, a Pie and a Pint.
National Theatre, 2oth November 2017 – 9th January 2018
Picture credit: Daniel Chalkley