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Search Party

Inua Ellams

Presented by Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts

Supported by Factory International and Arts Council England

photos: Tiu Makkonen

“Brave, quirky and engaging … reminding us that poetry amounts to more than a word search.”

A man walks into a room with his life in his hands. He is the internationally acclaimed artist and playwright Inua Ellams (Barber Shop Chronicles, The Half God of Rainfall) and he has filled thousands of pages in an ongoing attempt to be heard, to give his genius wings that can travel. Every word he’s ever written is captured, all the poems and the theater and the essays, the drafts of projects abandoned and works as yet unknown, indexed, rendered as binary, and waiting patiently within the confines of the electronic tablet he’s holding even now. Pick a word, any word. Prompted by audience suggestion and open conversation, Ellams searches through his archive, unearths refined or raw gold, and presents his treasure in a spontaneous performance. Search Party is an act of call and response that hearkens back to the birth of storytelling. At this uniquely futuristic and puckishly chaotic interactive event, the artist couldn’t be more present. He’s inviting you to join the work. What do you say?


Friday, January 5 @ 6:00 pm
Saturday, January 6 @ 9:00 pm
Sunday, January 7 @ 6:00 pm
Tuesday, January 9 @ 9:00 pm
Wednesday, January 10 @ 6:00 pm
Thursday, January 11 @ 9:00 pm
Friday, January 12 @ 6:00 pm
Saturday, January 13 @ 9:00 pm
Run time: 60 minutes


Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Clark Studio Theater, 7th floor of Rose Building
165 W 65th St,
New York, NY 10023


Born in Nigeria in 1984, Inua Ellams is writer and curator. He is a cross disciplinary artist, an internationally touring performer, a poet, playwright, screenwriter, graphic artist & designer. His published books of poetry include Candy Coated Unicorns and Converse All Stars, Thirteen Fairy Negro Tales, The Wire-Headed Heathen, #Afterhours, and The Actual. His first play The 14th Tale was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh International Theatre Festival. His plays include Barber Shop Chronicles, Three Sister and The Half-God of Rainfall. He is currently touring and working on several commissions across stage and screen. In graphic art & design, online and in print, he tries to mix the old with the new, juxtaposing texture and pigment with flat color and vector graphics. He lives and works from London, where he founded and curates the Midnight Run, The R.A.P Party, Poetry +Film / Hack, and other live events. He is an ambassador for The Ministry of Stories and The London Library, a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Royal Society of Arts, and board members of The Poetry Translation Centre, Complicite Theatre, The Royal Society of Literature and Cheltenham Literature Festival. In 2023, He was honored with an MBE for Services To The Arts, and an Honorary Doctorate from University Of The Arts, London.


Factory International is the organization behind Manchester International Festival (MIF) and the landmark new cultural space, Aviva Studios. Helping to put Manchester on the map as a global destination for arts, music and culture, Factory International invites the world’s most exciting artists to invent tomorrow together. Proudly international in spirit and practice, Factory International works with venues, festivals and companies worldwide to bring together the most exciting artists on the planet. Teaming up with local, national and international partners, it produces and premieres major new work, promoting a culture of sharing and collaboration.

Search Party is supported by Arts Council England.