This fall, Own the Boards is joining forces with area spoken-word artists to start a youth slam program for teens. We’re happy to announce that Jonathan “Courageous” Clark and Olivia Riggins will serve as our official program instructors. Join us in congratulating them and take a minute to learn why they’ll make such an awesome team. Huzzah!
Jonathan “Courageous” Clark
Jonathan “Courageous” Clark has been a fixture on the Knoxville poetry-slam scene for over 17 years; indeed, he earned the nickname “Courageous” at early performances, even winning a Knoxville Poetry Slam competition at the tender age of 14. He has co-hosted KPS since 2009 and travels the country as part of I.N.K. Spoken Word. In April, he began working as the Executive Support Manager for Knoxville’s The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc.
This whole youth-mentor thing isn’t new to Clark. He previously led other poetry- and slam-related workshops geared towards kids and even coached a youth-slam team in the 2010 Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam Competition, where they competed against adult teams.
Olivia Riggins is another dynamic addition to our team. She’s taught performing arts – specifically dance – at Austin-East Magnet School since 2011 and even produced the short film “Showcase: Meet the Students of Austin East Magnet High School,” which won an Emmy. Her desire to positively impact teens also led her to mentor dance students in North Carolina and Missouri.
Riggins’s drive to perform and mentor students isn’t limited to dance, however. You can see her at Knoxville spoken word events under the stage name Origins. She’s been busy honing her craft, studying under established slam poets Black Atticus and Rhea Sunshine, and this hard work has paid off. Riggins boasts an impressive record of slam wins, and she’s even served as the featured poet at local events and performed at the nationally renowned Nuyorican Poets Cafe in NYC. Such experiences informed her work as guest mentor and judge for the 2016 Breathe Ink Youth Slam Semi Finals Charlotte, NC.