Acclaimed playwright, poet and performer Inua Ellams will bring to life a modern day fable about brotherhood in a globalised world in his one man tour-de-force, Black T-shirt Collection at Arts Centre Melbourne from 5 September 2017.
Described as the love child of hip hop artist Mos Def and English Romantic poet John Keats, Nigerian-British performer Inua Ellams explores the relationship between two foster brothers whose differences – one gay, one straight, one Christian, one Muslim – are nothing on the fierce bond they share.
Ellams tells an adventure story that races around the world, from humble beginnings in Nigerian markets where they build a t-shirt brand that takes them to the bazaars of Cairo, the nightclubs of Europe and the sweatshops of China. But like any empire, they find success comes at a cost.
Black T-shirt Collection tackles the big issues of modern life including religion, homophobia, exploitation and consumer culture. It was performed at the National Theatre of Great Britain in 2012 before touring the UK and internationally. Ellams draws on his own experiences to tell stories through spoken word, bringing together some of the most pressing challenges we face right now into a playful, provocative and moving experience.
Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He has published three booklets of poetry: Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ and The Wire-Headed Heathen.
His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre. He is also touring his work An Evening With An Immigrant, working on new play Barber Shop Chronicles, and a poetry book called #Afterhours. A prolific TED talker, Ellams has spoken about black masculinity, the negative effects of masculinity and immigration. In 2010, he was long-listed for the Alfred Fagan Award for playwrights of African and Caribbean descent.
Ellams lives and works in London, where he founded the Midnight Run – a nocturnal urban art excursion, and The R.A.P Party (Rhythm And Poetry Party), where he gathers 10 poets to celebrate the art form in an evening of hip-hop-inspired poems and hip-hop songs.
“A spoken-theatre performer with a quiet, compelling presence and a tripping tongue.” – The Guardian UK
Black T-shirt Collection
Fairfax Studio – Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne
Season: 5 – 10 September 2017
Information and Bookings: www.artscentremelbourne.com.au
Image: Inua Ellams (supplied)