Inua Ellams was born in Nigeria in 1984 to a Muslim father and Christian mother, and fled with his family to England at age twelve.
He is a poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist and designer, and often 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.
He started performing in cafes in 2003 and has since worked in venues which include Queen Elizabeth Hall, Tate Britain, Theatre Royal Stratford and Glastonbury Festival. He has also undertaken several commissions, including those for Tate Modern, Soho Theatre and for the BBC's Politics Show.
Inua brought his wild energy to explore national identity and belonging in An Evening with an Immigrant at Sydney Opera House as part of Antidote 2017, a festival of ideas, art & action.
An Evening with an Immigrant is Inua's potent personal account of life as an immigrant told through poetry and music. A charismatic and engaging performer, Inua tells his ridiculous, fantastic and poignant story – escaping fundamentalist Islam, experiencing prejudice and friendship in Dublin, performing solo at the National Theatre and drinking wine with the Queen of England – all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home.
“Ellams’ poetry gleams with a dusty, worn, deeply original beauty and he remains such wonderfully generous company to keep on stage” (Metro (UK)).