Historic Royal Palaces announces Inua Ellams as its first Poet in Residence for the Tower of London

1 February 2018

1 February 2018

Historic Royal Palaces is pleased to welcome Inua Ellams as the Tower of London’s Poet in Residence for 2018, where he will lead a yearlong programme of thought provoking events at the famous fortress.

Ellams is an award winning writer, artist and performer. As the Tower of London’s first Poet in Residence, he will be curating a new series of poetry, spoken word and performance events called Confessions at the Tower; mixing re-imagined historic records with real confessions from some of the country’s most exciting contemporary poets.

As part of his residency, Ellams will also feature in Historic Royal Palace’s second podcast series, Outliers, produced in association with Rusty Quill. The series presents a selection of historical fiction stories on the people hiding in the shadows of real events delivered by award-winning contemporary writers.

Nocturnal experience seekers will also be able to join Ellams on a one-off special edition of his popular Midnight Run events. From dusk ‘til dawn, he will guide a small group on an urban journey of surprise and discovery, meandering the city from Kensington Palace to the Tower of London in autumn 2018.

Ellams takes up the role at the Tower following a sell-out run at the National Theatre for his fourth play ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’. He has recently won the Liberty Human Rights award for his play ‘An Evening with an Immigrant’, and been named by The Stage as one of the top 100 ‘most influential people in theatre’ for 2018.  

Inua Ellams comments:

“The Tower of London represents various aspects of Britain’s past. However, these themes which have shaped the Tower’s history are also problematic when placed in modern context: power and control, colonial wealth, and torture. By collaborating with Historic Royal Palaces as the Tower of London’s Poet in Residence, I’ll be able to programme events and commission and curate writers and performers to articulate the various complexities of the building, its history and, importantly, its relevance today.”

Lisa Vernon, Adult Learning, Historic Royal Palaces comments:

“Inua’s style and ability to craft mesmerising stories makes him the perfect fit as our Poet in Residence. At Historic Royal Palaces, our ambition is to bring the Tower’s history to the widest possible audience – and that means we’re constantly in search of new creative ways to explore the stories of this remarkable building. Inua will bring a fresh perspective to some of this history and we’re particularly excited to work with him to explore contemporary parallels to the Tower’s past in this unique series of events.”

Notes to editors

For further information and images, please contact the Historic Royal Palaces press office on 020 3166 6340 or email [email protected]

Confessions at the Tower: Power

18 April, 19.00-20.45

£20 / £18 concessions

Confessions at the Tower: Condemnation

24 May, 19.00-20.45

£20 / £18 concessions

Confessions at the Tower: Slander

28 June, 19.00-20.45

£20 / £18 concessions

Confessions at the Tower: Justice

27 September, 19.00-20.45

£20 / £18 concessions

Inua Ellams was born in Nigeria in 1984, and is an internationally touring poet, playwright, performer, graphic artist & designer. He is an ambassador for the Ministry of Stories and has published four books of poetry: ‘Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars’, ‘Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales’ 'The Wire-Headed Heathen' and '#Afterhours'. His first play ‘The 14th Tale’ was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival and his fourth ‘Barber Shop Chronicles’ sold out both runs at England’s National Theatre. He recently toured 'An Evening With An Immigrant' and is working on ‘The Half God of Rainfall’ – a new play in verse. In graphic art & design, online and in print, he tries to mix the old with the new, juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat shades of colour and vector images. He lives and works from London, where he founded the Midnight Run, a nocturnal urban excursion.

Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle.  We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk