ESU Atlanta Branch

President's Corner

June 17, 2020

Dear Fellow Branch Members,

It is with great excitement and gratitude that I beginning serving as your new President! There is a sense of excitement and challenge in the air as we go with the new technologies of teleconferencing and ZOOM meeting, momentarily, we hope! Our Branch year is scheduled with many exciting lectures and events even as we end the summer. Our member Dr. Manning Patitillo will speak to us on, "The Wit and Wisdom of Winston Churchill' and member Edna Berkshire will speak to us on, "Life in England growing up in WWII".  Our exciting Fall season has us hoping to attend the Centennial ESU Gala  as our national meeting, to be held in New York, Oct. 21. Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, is planning to be in attendance, circumstances permitting, which will make the event perfect indeed! Once again members Elizabeth and Jim Munson have graciously invited our branch to enjoy our annual Christmas Party in their beautiful home. Members Fay and John Selvage will again host a luncheon and lecture the beginning of the year at their Ansley Park Golf Club. Feb 21, 2021, is our planned date for our Branch's annual Shakespeare Competition and we are fortunate to have our members, Diane and Randy Brannen, once again in charge. (Please see their terrific 'Shakespeare Competition Newsletter' inserted in this column). A highlight of our Branch year will be the visit of our National ESU Sir Evelyn Wrench lecturer, Sir Christopher Hum, former Ambassador to China, and Mrs. Hum. His visit and lecture will be arranged when air travel is once again under normal conditions. An exciting finale to our year of programs will be our Annual Garden Party at the home of the British Consul General Andrew Staunton and Mrs. Staunton. For all of the above events we welcome any members who might be visiting in Atlanta!

Kind regards,

Gloria Norris, Branch President

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News And Events

2021 Shakespeare Competition

The next Atlanta ESU Branch Shakespeare Competition will be held on Sunday, February 21, 2021, at the Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse on Peachtree St.


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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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Branch Annual Garden Party

Our Branch held its annual Garden Party at the home of the British Consul General, Andrew Staunton and his wife. Beautiful day with many gorgeous hats. The new Branch President, Pace Huff, was the master of ceremonies and gave the right touch to a wonderful afternoon.

The Branch Shakespeare Competition winner, Arden Adams performed the sonnet that she presented at the national competition in Lincoln Center last April.

After the appropriate toasts to The Queen and to the President, the Consul General provided interesting comments on the importance of the ESU and the tie that binds English speaking people.


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The English-Speaking Union

Atlanta Branch

Atlanta Branch Landmark Photo