Two special guests recently visited with teen students across the globe to talk about Shakespeare and how to unlock the power of his language.
The first has been featured in various articles on TSS in the past:
Devon Glover of Brooklyn, New York — also known as the “Sonnet Man” – recently worked with the Bermuda Shakespeare Schools Festival. Glover specializes in transforming Shakespeare’s sonnets into spoken word and rap performances.
After previously working with a group called Flocabulary, which helped to exercise his educational hip hop writing skills, Glover discovered that a study of Shakespeare’s sonnets would allow students to investigate meter, rhythm, and emotion while creating a more succinct introduction to the his works than a lengthy play.
Aside from his live performances, the Sonnet Man works with groups to teach the components and structure of the sonnets. He then asks students to write and perform their own.
(Last year’s Bermuda Shakespeare Schools Festival was cancelled due to storm damage in the local area)
Meanwhile, stage and screen actor Colm Feore met with a high school group for Canada’s Shakespearience workshop at Danforth Collegiate and Technical Institute in Toronto. Feore, who has appeared in many Stratford Festival productions of Shakespeare’s works (including last year’s King Lear) and in films such as Julie Taymor’s Titus, visited the Institute with Marvin Karon, founder of the Shakespearience organization.
From the website:
Shakespearience is a literacy program which seeks to empower young people with the possibilities of the English language.
It does so by offering a summer program to students struggling academically, an after hours program for at-risk youth and a minimum of one hundred workshops a year to students in Grades 3 through 12, which utilizes experienced, professional actors in an interactive, simulated rehearsal process to explore a couple of scenes in any play the students might be studying.
All of these programs seek to foster an appreciation of the works of William Shakespeare by demystifying the words and phrases young people often find inaccessible and frustrating. Shakespearience seeks to demonstrate that material students originally perceive as being difficult and beyond their capabilities is more often than not something they can figure out with a little hard work, imagination and the tools artists draw upon and use in their exploration of the classical texts.
Karon often brings professional actors into classrooms and interactive workshops to work with young performers and students of English literature in the hope that such exposure will make Shakespeare’s “rich and expressive” language more accessible.
Shakespearience focuses on satisfying the English curriculum requirements of Ontario, Canada. The Sonnet Man has traveled to various festivals and theater companies throughout the world.