talented thespians, Joke Silva, speaks about her award-winning career,
marriage and other related matters.
incredible fun. It was at the University of Lagos and I was part of the
cultural centre. We used to rehearse plays directed by the late Prof.
Bode Osanyin, and we performed at places like the Goethe Institute and
British Council. We were always performing.
I had more fun before I went for my training than I did after training.
I performed with the University of Lagos, went to Nigerian Television
Authority, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria and from there, I went
to perform at the National Theatre. Soon after, I went to train in
England. I went to the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts, London.
When I completed my training, I returned home after a stint at The Royal
Court Theatre. I also did a little bit of work with the British
It was a musical and I played the Merry Peasant. This was something I
did in my final year in primary school. Years later, someone saw me and
said, “Were you not the Merry Peasant? You were excellent.” I continued
performing in secondary school, Holy Child College, Obalende and when I
went for my A levels in Bournemouth. I also sat for the London Academy
of Music and Dramatic Arts examinations. I did that up to gold medal.
fact that they were both professionals. My late mother was a medical
doctor, and my late father was a lawyer but both of them also enjoyed
the arts. My mother played the piano and when my father was at the
London School of Economics, he would join his friends who were on film
sets in London. My mum did her A levels abroad and studied Medicine in
Liverpool. My mother had a schoolmate who became a very successful
actress and she used to watch her on the big screen. For them, it was
what I loved doing. However, they also tried to caution me because they
knew it was a hard profession. My father’s cousin was the late Uncle
Jab Adu of the Village Headmaster and Adio Family fame.
He was very good friends with the Olusolas. My parents knew it wasn’t
really a piece of cake to be an actress in any country and becoming an
actress in Nigeria, was doubly difficult. For them, they would have
preferred if I had a fallback plan. My father was interested in me
having Law as a fallback plan. I think with me, there was an
understanding of my nature very early on in life that if I should had a
fallback plan and things got difficult, I would just quit. I think that
was part of the reason I was pretty stubborn with them about not wanting
a fallback plan. Also, when I had my gap year, they saw how much I
flourished and thrived as an actress. They both felt that since acting
was what I had been wired to do, then there was a need for me to get
later. I had been working for quite a couple of years, I had been
married and I was expecting our second child when I went to UNILAG to
could function on the various platforms of theatre and television. At
that time, there were not many films. The films that were being done at
that time were few and far between. It was usually with the late Pa
Hubert Ogunde, who I really wanted to work with but never got the
opportunity to do so. I was really upset about not being able to work
with Pa Ogunde, Ade Afolayan and Baba Sala. I did more theatre and quite
a lot of television. Now, there is a lot more work. Once you are a good
actor and you have been able to network properly, you are rarely going
to be out of work.
which brought me to the notice of the English-speaking audience and
then, there was theatre which sealed my professionalism and acumen. That
was The King Must Dance Naked by Fred Agbe.
continues to learn about their craft and is always willing to learn. You
can’t say because you have been acting for years, then you know
everything. A lot of times, you are working with a different director,
so they bring something new to the table. Of course, because you have
experience, you can think along with the director on some things but I
think it also important to be open to the experience, learn , see where
the character is taking you. No two characters are the same.
don’t need to retire from because you have people in real life who live
to be 100 years old and above.
long way but sometimes humility can be a very interesting word to
define. I think getting along with people, always being willing to try
new experiences as long as they are not harmful help to build a great
career. I think longevity in the industry also has to do with being
aware that there are changes happening. Some changes are good and some
are bad. There are some changes that you must help to nurture.
them on Gidi Up and they are an amazing crop of talents. I work with a
lot of them in the theatre as well and they are totally dedicated to
their work. Of course, you do find a few who come in because they want
the fame. I am not interested in those, I am interested in those who are
totally dedicated to their craft and continue to up the ante.
training of actors. You had either the Theatre Arts degree awarded by
the universities or you had training that was informal in which you
apprenticed with a company. We felt that the gap was the academy that
you find in other parts of the world. The training is totally practical
and it is usually between two and three years. Sometimes it might be
less depending on your experience or level of theatre awareness.
year, but right now, we are on a break. We are restrategising but we
should back again on stream in January.
that I am married to. Firstly, because he is my friend more than the
fact that he is in my industry. That I would marry someone in my
industry was not farfetched because I was always around people in my
industry and I was not mixing with too many people outside my industry.
He is somebody who has incredible passion for his work, believes in his
work and he has so much respect for his work. I think that is my gain
from being married to him.
was likely to be that kind of stress until we started experiencing it.
We managed it by God’s grace.
we have a fantastic formula. We have had times when each party was
like, “Lord, is this what this marriage is all about?”
finding it difficult to navigate whatever part of the marriage
experience we are in at that point in time. Thankfully, God has been
extremely faithful and we have been able to weather the storms.
exists. I think that is in people’s imagination. You just do the best
that you can with whatever you are dealing with, irrespective of whether
its work or family. If there is a balance, more credit to you.
to relax watching foreign television than I will watching Nigerian
television. Watching the latter is work for me because it is my
industry, so I am watching it critically and I can’t get lost in it. For
the foreign ones, I can get totally lost in it. Sometimes it is utter
rubbish but I couldn’t care less because it has done what it is supposed
to do, which is to relax me.
exercise and that is really bad. It drives my husband nuts because as an
actor, you are supposed to be really fit. Apart from moving around
every single day, I am always doing something.
for two reasons. Firstly, I grew up knowing some people who as
celebrities were known by a particular name and then the name changed.
Subsequently, the marriage did not work and they went back to their
maiden name. I did not want that to happen to me, so if I am Joke Silva,
I am Joke Silva. If the marriage works, I am still Joke Silva, and if
it does not work, I am still Joke Silva.
it also seemed as if these celebrity marriages were not marriages that
worked all the time. Also, all my husband’s professional life before we
got married was in England and over there, nobody changed their names
when they got married. Sometimes you would not even know that this
person was married to that person because they retained their identity.
Most times it is a brand. My brand was being built and was doing well
around the time that we got married, so why change it? That does not
change the fact that I am still Olu Jacob’s wife.
like to have too much going on. Probably because I don’t have the figure
for it, I do not wear things that expose my body. I don’t believe in
wearing clothes that are too tight.