Black T-shirt Collection
Inua Ellams and Fuel
Fringe First winner Inua Ellams is a word and graphic artist whose work merges visual art, spoken word and theatre to tell stories with iconic imagery, humour and beauty. Drawing on a diverse range of influences from Keats to hip hop, Ellams crosses 18th century Romanticism and traditional storytelling with contemporary diction and musicality. He writes about his upbringing, the experience of immigration, and of living in London today, bringing words to life with pace and rhythm, cadence and intonation. Black T-shirt Collection is produced by Fuel, an organisation working in partnership with some of the most exciting artists in the UK to develop, create and present new work for the broadest possible audience.
Black T-shirt Collection tells the story of two foster brothers – one gay, one straight; one Christian, one Muslim – who build a global T-shirt brand. On their journey through the markets of Nigeria, nightclubs of Europe and sweatshops of China, Matthew and Muhammed discover the consequences of success. As their business booms, they can't evade the secrets that bind them together and risk tearing them apart. Combining lyrical spoken word and animation, Black T-shirt Collection is a modern fable exploring brotherhood, homophobia, and global capitalism, which draws on Ellams’ own experiences of growing up in Nigeria, immigration, and of living in the UK today.
Black T-shirt Collection is commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and developed with the support of the Arvon Foundation, the National Theatre and the Jerwood residencies at Cove Park, which are supported by the Jerwood Charitable Foundation Funded by Arts Council England.
In the press
"You sink into his storytelling, which paints vivid mental images" Time Out
"…a fluent, intense 70-minute confection and a tingling, resonant celebration of the art of solo performance" London Evening Standard
DesignerMichael Vale; Michael Nabarro (Lighting); Emma Laxton (Sound)
Number of people on stage1
Number of people in touring company3
Touring AvailabilityFrom Autumn 2013
Scale of venueSmall-scale (capacity up to 400),
Middle-scale (capacity 400-850)
Minimum performance space5m x 5m with a hanging point for a 5m wide screen
Text-basedDense (important for audiences to have a good understanding of English)
VenuePleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh, EH8 9TJ
Production dates19 – 24 August
Production times10:45 – 12:00
Duration75 MINS (no interval)
AddressFuel c/o Battersea Arts Centre
Contact for touring
The 14th Tale (Inua Ellams and Fuel), Ring (David Rosenberg, Glen Neath and Fuel), While You Wait(podcasts installed in four bespoke listening stations),Going Dark (Sound&Fury and Fuel) Love Letters Straight From Your Heart (Uninvited Guests and Fuel)