ESU Atlanta Branch

President's Corner

June 2021

Dear Fellow Branch Members,

The Atlanta Branch is completing possibly the most challenging year in its eighty-year history, but I think we can say that we have survived and are well. The Branch is fully functional, even if via Zoom. We have accomplished much in the past year, as has ESUUS with their series of programs, and we have major plans for the new year starting July 1. Thank you for your continuing interest and support. As your new president, I will serve diligently and try to strengthen the Branch. Please keep in touch and view our website for announcements and updates. We all look forward to normal in-person activities, and we are in the process of arranging our traditional Garden Party, as well as a possible picnic at a location to be determined. We will resume monthly meetings as soon as we can clear COVID restrictions. I know this is something we all want to see, and soon. For the time being, we will try to bring you lectures and meetings by virtual video, teleconferences and other virtual measures that will keep us all close, as has always been the case. I ask you if you please have any ideas or program preferences to let me or one of our board members know.

I hope this has been helpful and encouraging, Please do not delay in renewing your membership for 2021-2022. The renewal form is attached. As always, regular annual membership dues remain unchanged at $50 for individuals and $80 for couples, but please consider upgrading to Patron status or becoming a Contributor to the Branch, both of which carry additional privileges. The additional financial support of upgraded membership is invaluable. Also, endeavor to bring in friends and acquaintances as new members. Such events as the Annual Christmas Party and the Branch entry in the National Shakespeare Competition will definitely continue. Members Randy and Diane Brannen will continue to arrange and host the multiple student performances at the Atlanta Shakespeare Tavern, and many members attend and share the excitement of teachers and students at this special day.

Again, it is your Branch, and your continuing membership and active support makes us what we are.

Please call me anytime, or contact any other Branch officers and board members with your ideas and suggestions.

Yours Truly,

Donald M. Pattillo, President

Atlanta Branch, English-Speaking Union

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News And Events

2021 Shakespeare Competition

Event Recap Photo

Because of the COVID pandemic restrictions, we selected ten finalists to appear on stage.

The Atlanta ESU Branch held our 22nd Shakespeare Competition on March 14 at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse on Peachtree St. This year, for the first time, we recorded the students' performances on video. See story here and photos here.


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2021 Shakespeare Competition

The Atlanta Branch held our 22nd annual competition on March 14th.  Winner will head to nationals in April. Read this article for more information.


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2020 National Shakespeare Competition

This year's competition was held as usual at the Shakespeare Playhouse on Peachtree St in downtown Atlanta.  There were 24 students from 14 schools. (We accept up to two students per school.)

Click here to view the gallery with more pictures. 

Click here to download Shakespeare Competition Newsletter

1st Place – Arden Adams of Mount Vernon School, teacher Clark Taylor.
2nd Place – Dayan Todd of Tri-Cities High School, teacher Jade Lambert-Smith.
3rd Place – Anne Marie Alsobrook of Westminster High School, teacher Kate Morgens.

Honorable Mention – Veronica Else of DeKalb School of the Arts, teacher Candace Lambert

This is the year of the COVID pandemic, so the national competition did not take place in NYC.  Instead, the wonderfully resilient staff at ESU HQ quickly arranged for students from 49 ESU Branches to submit video of their performances.  These may be seen on ESU's YouTube channel:  2020 Shakespeare Competition Performances  (The competitor from our Atlanta Branch is student #9.)

From these submissions, the judges picked ten finalists.  On April 27 these ten students live-streamed their performances, and the resulting hour-long program may be seen here:  2020 Shakespeare Competition Finalists. The winner was Ava Blum, student of Jim Mahady, at Georgetown Day School.

Preparations for the 2021 competition are already underway.  The Atlanta Shakespeare Playhouse has penciled us in on their calendar for February 21, 2021. Please put it on your calendars too!


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The Tower of London

The Speaker series is named for Evelyn Wrench, the founder of the English-Speaking Union. Speaker Elizabeth St. John spends her time between California, England, and the past. A best-selling author, historian and genealogist, she has tracked down family papers and residences from Lydiard Park, and Nottingham Castle to Richmond Palace and the Tower of London. Elizabeth will be signing books at the end of the event. To reserve a space, please include payment via check to ESU at address below or go to this link to pay online. 

RSVP: February 4, 2020
Guests Welcome
$35 per person/CashBar
Complimentary Valet Parking
Checks payable to ESU Atlanta Branch
Edna Berkshire - P.O. Box 1684, Cumming GA 30028


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Atlanta National Shakespeare Competition


The Atlanta Branch Shakespeare Competition will take place on Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020 at the Shakespeare Theatre at 490 Peachtree Street. Participants and mentors should arrive between noon and 12:30. Program starts at 1 PM sharp.

All interested students and mentors should contact Randy Brannen at  The field is limited to the first 30 qualifiers.


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The English-Speaking Union

Atlanta Branch

Atlanta Branch Landmark Photo