Talking to Emmanuel Ighodaro (who grew up in Salford), he explained that he was “really happy to be performing at the Royal Exchange” for the first time.
Barber Shop Chronicles, written by Inua Ellams and directed By Bijan Sheibani, takes the audience on a journey across six different cities: Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, Accra and London.
In the production, Ighodaro plays three characters, requiring Nigerian, Ugandan and South African accents. For Ighodaro, Nigerian comes most easily as he is “second generation Nigerian”, whilst he has “vague recollections” of South African from a previous play. The real challenge was finding the differences between Nigerian and Ugandan. Ighodaro explained that Ugandan accents are “lighter than Nigerian” with more of a “flow”.
Ighodaro explained that he “could see a lot of things” in the script that he’s experienced in barber shops and said: “whether you know people or not, it’s a space that people can come into” without being judged.
Barber Shop Chronicles explores different aspects of men and perceptions of masculinity, Ighodaro added that even though this story is “told through the black male perspective, the themes are universal”.
Ighodaro also promised that the singing and dancing in the show will keep the audience entertained. He also wants the audience “to take away a better understanding of black men and how the world is understood through the black perspective”
Barber Shop Chronicles runs at The Royal Exchange, in association with Contact Theatre, until 23rd March.