As part of the British Council’s 75th anniversary in Nigeria, they are celebrating participants of their programme in the areas of their work – arts and culture, English language, education, civil society – whose lives, businesses and communities have been impacted positively following the participation.
They are saying Thanks to you Chika Jones, an alumnus of the British Council’s 2017 Young Critics’ Programme, Nigerian performance poet and budding theatre critic..
Chika Jones won his place on the British Council Young Critics’ Programme. This project was aimed at developing critical journalistic engagement with the fast-developing theatre sector in Lagos.
It aimed to train, mentor and promote 20 young writers between the ages of 18 and 35 to build their theatre criticism skills, to help in professionalising the arts scene, upskilling young people, building new audiences for theatre, increasing media engagement with the Lagos Theatre Festival (LTF) and the wider theatre sector and build the capacity of the theatre-makers in the festival.
Chika was an obvious candidate for the place. In 2013, he won a National poetry slam and has been on some of the biggest stages ever since. In 2014, he was a guest performer for the Wole Soyinka at 80 cultural exchange and in that same year, he was selected to attend the Caine Prize Short Story Workshop for the Port Harcourt Book Festival.
Between 2015 and 2016 he has performed poetry at the Lagos Book and Arts Festival, Lagos International Poetry Festival, Ake Arts and Book Festival and he was selected to attend the 2016 class of the Farafina Creative Writing Workshop.
He says: “Of this I am sure: I believe that art in whatever form is integral to this world as we know it and I want to always contribute in any way I can to the art we put out.”
As an alumnus of the young critics’ programme in 2017, Chika Jones has gone ahead to establish his craft very prominently in Lagos. He has performed both as a critic and a poet at the Lagos Theatre Festival, the Lagos International Poetry Festival (LIPFEST) and several other productions across the country. Chika Jones is now regarded as one of the upcoming poets and theatre critics in Lagos.
He is currently working on a collection of poems about Lagos. Most of his works have been published in Kalahari Review, Praxis Magazine, and on his website chikajones.com.
British Council is inviting past programme participants to celebrate its 75-year anniversary with them by submitting stories of their experience and the impact it has had. Visit www.britishcouncil.org.ng for more information about how to participate in the 75 Stories campaign or follow on social media.