The Sonnet Man performed a three and half hour Sonnet Marathon on Sunday, April 24, organized by the Stratford Literary Festival. He recited all 154 of William Shakespeare’s famous Sonnets, in Hip Hop, to hundreds of fans in Stratford Upon Avon, to celebrate 400 years of Shakespeare at the Stratford Literary Festival.
Under dark clouds, rain sleet, and finally, the sun coming out at the last minute, The Sonnet Man achieved an incredible feat. Three and half hours continuously singing Old English poetry in iambic pentameter, he rapped 154 sonnets, many from memory, with only the aid of a few notes in booklet.
“It was wonderful that a mad idea from Devon’s manager, Arje Shaw, came to fruition in Stratford during the Birthday celebration weekend! Devon did such a good job and it was wonderful to have him with us. We can’t guarantee it was a record but we are pretty sure no one else has ever achieved all 154 sonnets, let alone rapped!” Said Festival Director, Annie Ashworth.
In the week leading up to The Sonnet Marathon with the Stratford Literary Festival, The Sonnet Man performed and conducted workshops at schools and universities in England, including King Edward VI School (the same school Shakespeare attended more than 400 years ago), Stratford School, Birmingham City University, and the Warwick School.
The week prior, The Sonnet Man performed at the Word of South and Southern Shakespeare Festivals in Tallahassee, Florida. Coinciding with the Southern Shakespeare Festival, he also did school assemblies, workshops, and drop-ins to theatre classes at Godby High School, FAMU Essential Theatre, Leon High School, and the FAMU Developmental Research School. The Sonnet Man also spent time with the 50Large youth group, an organization collaborating with at-risk students in Leon County Schools.
The Sonnet Man is still traveling internationally. He is in Morocco for performances and workshops at various locations of the American Language Center (ALC) until Wednesday May 18.