ESU Central Pennsylvania Branch

Welcome to the Central Pennsylvania Branch Page

Welcome to the Central Pennsylvania Branch of The English-Speaking Union.  We are a non-profit, non-political membership organization whose mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community.  Whether you're a student, scholar, soldier, Stratfordian, Scotch-English, singer-of-ballads, or just someone who thinks the English language is cool, we're the group for you.

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News And Events

Central Pennsylvania student performs at the 36th Annual National Shakespeare Competition in New York City

April 30, 2019 — New York City: April 29th may have been a normal Monday for most high school students, but for Brady Chilson from Carlisle High School it will be a day to remember forever. Brady, student of Douglas Hewlett and Sue Biondo-Hench, placed as a semifinalist at the 36th Annual National Shakespeare Competition celebrating William Shakespeare's birthday while competing against 50 students from around the US on stage at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center Theater. The event is the culmination of a year-long competition hosted by the English-Speaking Union (ESU).

To qualify for the National Shakespeare Competition semi-finals, Brady won the regional ESU Central Pennsylvania Branch Shakespeare Competition earlier this year.


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Carlisle Area High School Student to Compete in the 36th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York

Central PA Branch of the ESU – Regional Competitors Front Row
Brady Chilson – Winner (Carlisle High School), William Shakespeare, Playwright,Eli Weary, CAPA ( Capitol Area Schoof for the Arts) 3rd Place

Emily Carlisle,  Yenisha Lopez (Susquehanna Township High School, Anna Farris( Delta Program), Isabelle Snyder, Alternate, Sadie Sublett (State College Area High School Logan Gunoskey, Julia Malek (Pottsville High School)

Loretto, PA  —Brady Chilson student of  Douglas Hewlett and Susan Biondo-Hench from Carlisle High School in Carlisle, PA achieved first place at the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition Central PA Branch tournament on Saturday February 16, 2019 Brady  will travel to New York City along with more than 50 other contestants from around the country to participate in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center Theater in New York on April 28-30th 2019.

Isabelle Snyder from State College Area HS earned second place, and Eli Weary, representing CASA ( Capitol Area School for the Arts) was awarded third place in the Central PA Branch competition. Each student performed a Shakespearean monologue of their choice and recited a sonnet. Competitors were judged on their understanding of their selected texts and on their ability to communicate their interpretation to the audience. Judges for the Branch Competition included faculty members of Saint Francis University:   Dr. Brennan Thomas Phd. of Literature and Languages Department, Ethan Leydig, actor with Band of Brothers Shakespeare in Stackhouse Park Johnstown, PA, and Alan Zajdel, Shakespeare in performance reviewer.  The Saint Francis competition coordinator was Dr. John Woznak Phd.


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Saint Francis University Hosts Regional Shakespeare Competition

2018 Central PA Branch Regional Competitors Alex Winnick – Hershey High School, Mary Rose Valentine -- The Delta Program, Ava Rose Wendelken – Carlisle High School, Hope Showers – Juniata Mennonite School, Gillian Letson – Phillipsburg-Osceola High School, Isabelle Snyder – State College High School, Ari Michael Dym – Susquehanna Township High School

Saint Francis University hosted the English Speaking Union's Central PA Regional Shakespeare Competition on Saturday, February 17 at JFK Auditorium. Students from eight high schools presented monologues and sonnets from the works of William Shakespeare. 


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Saint Francis University hosts Central Pennsylvania Branch Shakespeare Competition

Students from eight local schools will compete for a slot in the national competition in New York City

Saint Francis University will host the English Speaking Union Central PA Regional Shakespeare
Competition on Saturday, February 17 at JFK Auditorium from 10am to 12pm. High school students from
eight schools will present a 20-line monologue from one of Shakespeare's plays and their choice of one
of his 154 sonnets.

"This is a great opportunity for the public to come out and see talented individuals perform some
surprising selections from Shakespeare's greatest works," says Competition Coordinator Bonnie M.


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With a performance of Sonnet 119 and the famous "Crispian Day" speech monologue from Shakespeare's "Henry V", Nicholas Bowman from Carlisle, PA, a student of Susan Biondo-Hench at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, competed as a semi-finalist in the 34th annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the stage of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Nicholas was chosen to represent the ESU Central Pennsylvania Branch competition at the Central PA Regional Finals held at Lock Haven University in February 2017.

Nicholas and nine students from Central PA high schools were part of the group of more than 20,000 high school students nationwide participated in the 2017 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at the school, local, and regional competitions. Nicholas' trip to NYC to participate in the Shakespeare Competition was sponsored by the Departments of Fine Arts and Literature and Language at Saint Francis University, Loretto PA.

On May1st, the 54 regional semifinalists took to stage of the Mitzi E. Newhouse theatre of Lincoln Center to present the 20 line monologue chosen from the Shakespeare Canon of 37 plays, and their choice of one of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. From these presentations, ten finalists were chosen to present their pieces, and a "cold" (unprepared) reading of a random Shakespeare text to a second set of judges.

The year's winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi Egonu, representing the San Francisco Branch, received a full scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA, this summer. Second place winner, Brandon Burk, from the Kentucky Branch, won a cash prize of $1,000 from The English-Speaking Union, while the third place winner, Trevon Wainwright, representing the Kansas City Branch of the ESU, received an award of $500 provided by The Shakespeare Society.

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The English-Speaking Union

Central Pennsylvania Branch

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