We recently launched a new Community program called Teaching Artist Directory. This directory is an EdTA members-only benefit that helps you find skilled theatre professionals to lead workshops in your classroom or at an event.
Our latest featured teaching artist is Devon Glover (aka “The Sonnet Man”), a teacher, rapper, poet, and actor from Brooklyn, New York. Devon has taught workshops at EdTA events like our National Conference and International Thespian Festival, as well as in various schools around the country.
What is your favorite thing about being a teaching artist?
My favorite thing about being a teaching artist is getting to work with students worldwide.
What are your areas of expertise?
Songwriting, hip-hop, and adaptation.
Do you teach workshops for students, teachers, or both?
What kinds of workshops do you teach?
I teach creative writing workshops, with the goal to get students to begin creating their own musicals.
Why do you believe theatre is important?
It gives students another way to express themselves. It also provides students with confidence, when moving on in life; whether they pursue a career in theatre, or another profession.
What is your greatest challenge?
My greatest challenge is staying fresh and interesting in order to get hired for more work.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A typical day involves me waking up and working on a song verse, or part of a play/project that I’m working on, followed by e-mailing various job opportunities. While traveling for a meeting, or just going out to get some fresh air, I like to read or listen to some Shakespeare as a way to keep my brain sharp. The day ends with me working on music, or something Shakespearean (usually both).
Tell us about the best day of your career.
The best day of my career was when I first met my future manager, Arje Shaw, who put his trust in me to take over a project that he’s been working on for over 20 years.
Any tips for others planning to pursue a similar career path?
Always look for different ways to upgrade your talent. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and try something new.
What is the best advice anyone has ever given to you?
Your work is never done. There’s always room for improvement.
What is your favorite musical (or play)? What makes it so special?
The Lion King. Watching it on Broadway brought me back to when I first watched it as a child. It was exactly like the Disney movie. The fact that it is loosely based on a Shakespeare play (Hamlet) added to my love for it.
What was the first play you ever saw?
The first play I saw was the Vagina Monologues while in college.
What inspired you to pursue a career in theatre?
The many theatre companies that I’ve been contracted to write pieces for. The first time I’ve heard an actor recite my lines on stage.
Tell us about the moment that made you decide to get involved in theatre.
After the first rehearsal of the first professional production I was asked to be a part of (Richard III; Nov 2013), I fell in love with the process of putting on a show. I learned so much after that one rehearsal, I regretted that I didn’t pursue this earlier in life.
What is unique about your workshop(s)?
My workshop encourages students to research, create mini-scripts, perform them and get out of their comfort zone without any judgment from their peers. It also gets students who never met to collaborate on a project, and creates new friendships.
What was the most difficult element of a production you’ve ever had to manage?
I’ve directed pieces of plays with hip-hop music to students who have never listened to a rap song in their life. In addition to directing and blocking, etc., I’ve had to teach students how to stay on beat and to find their own rhythm. It’s a fun challenge.
What would you consider your biggest failure and what did you learn from it?
I’ve forgot a line one time during the first play I ever acted in and had to improvise the scene until I was able to remember my part.
Want to learn more about Devon? Check out this article he wrote for a recent issue of Dramatics Magazine about how he discovered Shakespeare though hip hop. Contact Devon here or explore the Teaching Artist Directory here.