The English-Speaking Union

Education Programs

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition

Welcome to the 2021

ESU National Shakespeare Competition!  

New challenges require new solutions and the ESU is ready!

CLICK HERE FOR THE 2021 SCHOOL PARTICIPATION FORM!

COMING SOON! 2021 SCHOOL WINNER FORM!

As the competition enters its 38th year, and the ESU enters its second century, we remain resolute in our commitment to the vision of our founder, Sir Evelyn Wrench.

These uncertain times require more flexibility, resiliency, creativity, and cooperation than ever before. In order to accommodate our students and teachers and to better serve our branches, several changes and improvements have been instituted and are detailed below. We thank you for your commitment to the competition, and to the communities it serves. 

New Competition Formats During COVID:

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition Finals will take place remotely following the same format it did in 2020. It is our hope that the competition can return to a live format once it is safe to do so.

Branch and School Competitions: Each branch community will have different needs in response to COVID, and for this reason we suggest that branches and schools consider which of these options is best for them. Schools should check with their local branch for specific competition information. 

1. Recorded Competition: Same format as 2020 National Semi-Finals. Students upload a video to YouTube and provide a link on the school winner form. 

2. Live via Internet: Follows the format of the 2020 National Finals. Branches set up a Zoom meeting (or other platform) for a live via internet competition. Check your branch page for Zoom links, date/time, and performance order. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER: NSC School Participation Form 

 NATIONAL FINALS COMPETITION DATES AND TIMES

Please note that ALL DATES ARE TENTATIVE. We will work with our branches to accommodate communities who have difficulties with any dates due to COVID 19.

Tentative deadline to hold branch competitions is March 22, 2021.

The 2021 ESU National Shakespeare Competition Remote Participation Forms (formerly known as Branch Winner Packets) with video links will be due by April 5, 2021.

10 Finalists will be announced by April 19th.

The remote competition finals are tentatively scheduled for Monday, April 26th, 2021.

2021 Prizes are as follows (due to COVID there is a possibility of delayed/substituted prizes)

     1st place: British American Drama Academy Mid-Summer Conservatory Program

     2nd place: American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp

     3rd place: $1000




CLICK HERE FOR THE 2021 SCHOOL PARTICIPATION FORM!


COMING SOON! 2021 SCHOOL WINNER FORM!

 

About the Competition

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based educational program serving grades 9-12. Since 1983, the competition has engaged more than 360,000 young people. Approximately 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students in nearly 60 ESU Branch communities participate each year.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is aligned with modern educational practices. Participating students:

  • practice essential skills such as critical thinking, close reading and public speaking
  • work through all 6 levels of Bloom's taxonomy,from recall to creation, increasing self-confidence through reading, analysis and performance of Shakespeare
  • have multiple points of entry to explore universal themes and are challenged to decode for themselves the complex beauty of Shakespeare's language 
  • work with teachers and peers in a student-centered program of experiential and cross-curriculum learning
  • meet local, state and national standards in English Language Arts and Drama.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition has been recognized by the Globe Center (USA), the Children's Theatre Foundation of America and the American Academy of Achievement. 

Please click on the appropriate link at left for our handbooks and learn more about the ESU National Shakespeare Competition. 

 ESU NATIONAL SHAKESPEARE COMPETITION: ONLINE

No branch? We can help!

The ESU is using technology to reach every high school, every teacher, and every student across the United States!

The ESU National Shakespeare competition is now open to all students, nationwide, regardless of location. Using readily available technology like cell phone cameras, schools without a participating local branch of the ESU can join the fun and be eligible to compete in a live finals round via video streaming. Winners of the Online Finals will travel, all-expenses paid to New York City to compete in the national competition against all our branch competition winners.

Click here to learn more!