Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 3,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

On 6 June, 2018 Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) Academy in Abuja staged an adaptation of Things Fall Apart. Literature teacher and writer Jennifer Emelife wrote and directed the play. The cast members comprised primarily of students ranging from the ages of 6 and 17. Here are photos from the event and Ms. Emelife’s account of the wonderful and enriching experience. 


I teach literature at the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL) Academy Abuja, an international school catering to students from pre-school to high school age. In February, the principal asked me to plan a school play. I immediately thought of Things Fall Apart, in part, because I had pulled off same (albeit on a smaller scale) in my former school and because I wanted it to be a learning opportunity for these students who could tell you so much about American history, but little about Nigerian history.

I drafted a script and, with the help of another teacher, came up with a comprehensive play script for Things Fall Apart. What we didn’t envisage was how tedious the work would turn out to be. The cast members comprised of students ranging between the ages of 6 to 17. Being Nigerians born in other parts of the world, Nigerians of mixed origins and non-Nigerians, the students constantly asked why a foreign play wasn’t an option. However, in the course of working on the play, the students became more open to exploring questions about colonialism, gender roles in the traditional African society and the Igbo culture. Eventually, they mastered their role, and by the time the day of the event came along, our students had completely transformed into Okonkwo, Amalinze the Cat, Ikemefuna, Nwoye, Ezinma, Obierika, Chielo, Unoka and Uchendu.

The parents of participating students furnished us with costumes while the principal made props available. Their contributions went a long way to bringing Things Fall Apart to life.

On the 6th of June, 2018, the students pulled off an amazing performance amidst great applause from the audience and their parents. At the end of it all, I stood there before the students, feeling incredibly proud. They will no doubt always remember that night.

I’m glad to have introduced the timeless work of Chinua Achebe to them. It’s the 60th anniversary of Things Fall Apart this year, and I can imagine Achebe smiling at me from his grave.

Watch the play and see photos below.

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

3 Responses to “Abuja-based School Presents Stage Adaptation of Achebe’s Things Fall Apart” Subscribe

  1. Precious 2018/06/22 at 09:57 #

    I would love to see a link to watch the play, if possible.

  2. Swoosh 2018/06/22 at 12:59 #

    I love this!

  3. Jennifer Emelife 2018/06/22 at 17:15 #

    Hey Precious! Here is a link:

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."


Demons in the Villa | Excerpt from Ebenezer Obadare’s Pentecostal Republic

pentecostal republics ebenezer obadare

Pentecostal Republic takes a hard look at the influence of pentecostalism in Nigerian politics. Prof. Obadare is a sociologist, who […]

Yasmin Belkhyr, Romeo Oriogun, Liyou Libsekal, JK Anowe Featured in Forthcoming 20.35 Africa Anthology Guest-Edited by Gbenga Adesina and Safia Elhillo

20.35 africa contributors

In February, we announced a call for submissions for a new poetry project. The anthology, 20.35 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, […]

On Black and Arab Identities: Safia Elhillo’s Arab American Book Awards Acceptance Speech

Safia Elhillo - tcb book club (2)

Safia Elhillo has won the 2018 Arab American Book Award, also known as the George Ellenbogen Poetry Award, for her […]

Attend the Second Edition of the Write with Style Workshop with Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

Oris Aigbokhaevbolo (2)

Following the first edition of the Write With Style Workshop, the award-winning writer, critic, and journalist Oris Aigbokhaevbolo is hosting […]

Ngugi’s Novel, Matigari, Is Being Adapted to Film by Nollywood Director Kunle Afolayan

Kenyan author Ngugi wa ThiongÕo, Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature at UC Irvine, is on the short list for the 2010 Nobel Prize in literature, for xxx(add phrase or blurb here from award announcement; 

Chancellor quote? Christine writing and getting approved quote).

Ngugi, whose name is pronounced ÒGoogyÓ and means Òwork,Ó is a prolific writer of novels, plays, essays and childrenÕs literature. Many of these have skewered the harsh sociopolitical conditions of post-Colonial Kenya, where he was born, imprisoned by the government and forced into exile.

His recent works have been among his most highly acclaimed and include what some consider his finest novel, ÒMurogi wa KagogoÓ (ÒWizard of the CrowÓ), a sweeping 2006 satire about globalization that he wrote in his native Gikuyu language. In his 2009 book ÒSomething Torn & New: An African Renaissance,Ó Ngugi argues that a resurgence of African languages is necessary to the restoration of African wholeness.

ÒI use the novel form to explore issues of wealth, power and values in society and how their production and organization in society impinge on the quality of a peopleÕs spiritual life,Ó he has said.

Ngugi wa Thiong’o’s 1987 novel Matigari is being adapted to film by Nollywood director Kunle Afolayan in a co-production with yet undisclosed Kenyan […]

Safia Elhillo Makes a Fashion Statement at the Arab American Book Awards

Safia Elhillo - tcb book club (2)

From Taiye Selasi’s dreamy designer collections and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s flayed sleeves and Dior collaboration to Alain Mabanckou’s dapper suits […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.