Meet the Medway artists behind Soul Food 2022

Co-commissioned by Creative Estuary to launch in summer 2022, this year’s body of HOMEWARD academy work is focused around ‘Soul Food’ and spotlights four local Black heritage artists, working together to develop and create a collection of 20-minute performance pieces linked intrinsically with their lyrical talents.


Get to know our four, incredible Black Heritage Artists below!


A Black heritage man sitting on a chair with folded arms and a theatre script on his lap

Chika Jones is a performance poet living in Rochester, Kent. Recently endorsed by the Arts Council of England in 2021, he received the Global Talent Visa and relocated to the UK. Chika’s past performances include the British Billingual Poetry Collective in 2022 and he is currently working on a Poetry translation to a British Sign Language project.


In 2013, he won a National poetry slam ‘War of Words’ 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 2019 he has performed poetry at the Lagos Book and Arts Festival, Lagos International Poetry Festival, Ake Arts and Book Festival. In 2017, he performed as part of the poetry production ‘Finding Home’ which toured Berlin, Germany, and Lagos, Nigeria.


Why Chika is excited about the HOMEWARD Academy


“As a performance poet, the importance of poetry and performance to the soul is vital. As an Igbo performance poet, it is life saving.


The story of the Igbo people of Nigeria is one of resilience and survival and art played a strong part in it, this is the story I aim to tell with my performance pieces and I know the opportunities and resources of Homeward Academy will help make this possible.”


Soul Food is whatever brings you joy


“It is of course your favourite meal, shared with people you love. But it is also a lot of other things. It is a well written sentence, it is that line in that song, you keep going back to. It is that poem you cannot get enough of. Your favourite meal, the space between being awake and being asleep, the little rituals that get you through life. Those things that buoy your soul.


My favourite soul food begins with soft fried plantain, but includes indomie and music and the poetry of Andrea Gibson. It is Simi’s music. It is a Teju Cole sentence and Van Gogh’s painting of the sower in a field. It is also my wife’s jollof rice.”



A Black heritage woman with braided hair sits holding a script


Aduke is a multi-disciplinary performing artiste, currently pursuing a career in music! Her artistry is rooted in culture, tradition and language, and she identifies as a Yoruba woman. Growing up in the small town of Osogbo in Osun State kept her rooted in culture, tradition and language compared to many of her peers who were born and raised in the city.


Her creative career was launched when she worked in Segun Adefila’s Crown troupe of Africa based in Bariga Lagos. This dance-theatre company comprised of young creative individuals who believe in the reformative power of performing arts.


She started a music band in 2009, and left the theatre company to pursue a career in Music in 2018.


Be sure to visit her website to find out more about her creative experience, talents, and projects.


Soul Food is where you go to remember


“It’s where you go to connect, it’s a part of your life that holds intricate and vital tools that you need. It’s a part of your existence. It could be in your history, food, culture. That’s soul food. It’s an intricate part of you, part of your heritage.”


Aduke’s story


“My story is based on my life as a Yoruba woman. I am multi-ethnic so that’s very reflective in my story. My story is from my life, and why? Because my life is so dynamic, and I think there are different ingredients that have made my life what it is, and I feel like it needs to be shared.”



A Black heritage female sits smiling. She has one hand outstretched and holds a script with her other hand

Monique is a writer, actor, and facilitator, passionate about the arts ability to create change and empower the marginalised in our society.


Monique published an academic article ‘Colour-blind casting in twenty-first century British theatre: Colourism, racism and the representation of Black people on stage’ in The Contemporary Theatre Review (2021). She was commissioned by Beyond Face theatre company to write an anti-racism play entitled The ‘i’ in Ally (2021) exploring performative allyship, as well as a Black feminist play exploring the experience of Black women living in the South West of England, entitled Alright Petal? (2019).


She has challenged the idea of a post-racial British society in a spoken word piece Imagine That (2018) at the TYPify Festival, and explored unconscious bias and identity in her first play Mirror Mirror (2018).


Monique is passionate about identity and culture, making it a huge element of the work she creates and engages in


Soul Food for Monique

“For me, soul food is about Black history and culture. Soul food shows how diverse we are and how resourceful we can be. How we can take the simplest thing and turn it into something amazing.”


Bringing light and joy

“Sometimes when we talk about Black history and heritage there isn’t much light, but soul food brings so much joy to so many people. That’s why I want to tell this story.”




A Black heritage female with brown curly hair sits looking thoughtfully

Lizzy Partridge is a performer, poet and writer. Whilst living in London she appeared in fringe theatre, collaborative devised projects and Theatre in Education school tours. One of her most fulfilling achievements was working for the Time Traveller’s History in Action Company based in Newcastle. Lizzy portrayed the historical character Shepenwepet, God’s Wife of Amun from the 25th Egyptian Dynasty. Over the years, hundreds & hundreds of wide eyed primary school children listened to and asked questions of and shared their knowledge with the Time Travelling Ancient Egyptian Princess.


On moving to Medway, and bringing up her daughter in the community that is Port Werburgh, she had the good fortune to meet and make friend-ships with Alana & Mike of the award winning company Dizzy O’Dare. They offered her various creative work opportunities, including performing at the much loved ‘Cabaret of Curiosities’ at the Brook Theatre, Chatham where JP Lovecraft, Lizzy’s alter ego, burst onto the scene. He is a dashing, swashbuckling adventurer, regaling the audience with his comedic, spine tingling ‘Tales of Horror.’


One of Lizzy’s  artistic highlights was being invited to write for the ‘Wandering Words’ project ( Ideas Test & Rochester Literary Festival) where Lizzy produced evocative work for the project, celebrating the Hoo Peninsula in poetry and by using audio to record life around the marina where she lives, talking to neighbours and capturing sounds on a circular walk.


Her combined love of nature and creativity was fulfilled again through creating walks and an accompanying story and poetry for Dizzy O’Dare’s GPS Audio Trails in the Spring of 2021. Following this she appeared in another Dizzy O’Dare project, a dramatised podcast, ‘Nightcrawler’ as a character from the doomed village.


Lizzy delighted the audience at ‘The Circle of Six Women’ event where she read the poetry and excerpts of work by the fascinating Gillingham born poet and writer Rosemary Tonks at the Gillingham library in May 2022.


Lizzy is now thrilled to be on this incredible artistic journey with Lyrici Arts.


A shared experience

“Soul food for me can be a shared experience – being with friends and family, enjoying good food, sharing stories and laughter, listening to my favourite music & dancing, or on my own, connecting with nature.”


The Soul Food melting pot

“It’s exciting to create, to put all our individual ingredients into the soul food melting pot to make something unique and special.


I want to put my story out there and I hope it will connect with and inspire people.”



HOMEWARD is an academy devised by Lyrici Arts for Black heritage artists. Through a programme of yearly events, participants will explore how the word ‘homeward’ connects with themes of personal identity, lived experience, culture and heritage.

HOMEWARD 2022 is a Creative Estuary Co-commission. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport funds the Cultural Development Fund which is administered by Arts Council England. Creative Estuary Co-commissions support a wide range of cultural projects with new commissions for Estuary-based producers and artists, from activity for emerging cultural activists to large scale commissions with a diverse mix of partners. The Co-commissions will raise widespread awareness of existing creative talent across the region and support creative practitioners and organisations to make and present new work.

HOMEWARD 2022 is also kindly funded by Creative Estuary, Arts Council England, Medway Council, Kent County Council and Royal Opera House Bridge. It is supported by Colyer Fergusson Trust, GlassBox Theatre, The Woodville Theatre and The Gulbenkian Theatre.

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Book tickets for the Medway performance

GlassBox Theatre, Gillingham

Tuesday 18th October 2022
7:30 – 8:40 PM

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Book tickets to watch the livestream show

HOMEWARD: Soul Food // Livestream
Online Livestream

Tuesday 18th October 2022
7:30 – 8:40 PM

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