A flat landscape covered in mud, in the centre of which stands a huge wooden table with roots. The sky is filled with a dramatic thunderstorm.

Event information

21 Apr 2024


BP Lecture Theatre


  • £10
  • £8 (Members)
  • £8 (Concessions)


Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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If you could choose your own destiny, what would it be? And what would you do if you discovered you'd made the wrong choice?

In the beginning there was mud. In the centre of this muddy expanse, at a huge wooden table, sat the goddess of creation and fate, rolling bodies into being between thumb and forefinger. This is Woyengi, and among her creations is one who changed her mind about the future she chose for herself – with wild and spectacular consequences.

Jan Blake, a storyteller who performs in theatres and festivals the length and breadth of Europe, brings a rare slice of Nigerian myth to the British Museum stage: a story that questions what we want, who decides which path we take, and whether we ever truly take responsibility for our mistakes.

Expect epic mothers, rebellious healers, power struggles, wounded pride and gate-keeping cockerels…

This event is presented in collaboration with the Crick Crack Club, the UK's boldest and busiest performance storytelling programmer and promoter, working with the finest spoken word storytellers, developing audiences, supporting artists and collaborating with venues and festivals across the UK. 

Content warning: This performance may contain descriptions of violence, childlessness and death, contextualised within a paradigm of mythic narrative, archetype and metaphor.

Booking information

  • Book now to secure your place.
  • Concessions include Disabled visitors, job seekers, seniors (60+) and students. The event is free for Disabled visitors' assistants (booking required).
  • Running time: Approximately 60 minutes, no interval.
  • These storytelling events are created with an adult audience in mind (age guidance 14+), under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Please allow time to go through a security check, which includes a bag check upon entry to the Museum.
  • Doors to the BP Lecture Theatre will open at approximately 14.15 for the audience to take their seats.
  • Please note only bottled water is permitted in the theatre. No food or other drinks are allowed.
  • This event will be held at full capacity. In line with current government and NHS guidance, face masks are not mandatory but guests are welcome to wear them if they wish.


About the performer

Powerful, bold and an extraordinary storyteller, Jan Blake performs in theatres and festivals the length and breadth of Europe. Born in Manchester to Jamaican parents, Blake was inspired by recordings of 'Miss Lou' (Louise Bennett). She came to telling stories in 1986, and rapidly gained an international reputation for witty and exhilarating performances. Specialising in folktales from West Africa, North Africa, the Arab world and the Caribbean, her repertoire is full of tales of powerful women and her versions of Ananse's exploits are definitive. Blake was awarded the Thüringer Märchen Preis for devoting her life to this art form.