ESU Kansas City Branch


ESU Invites All Kansas City Area High Schools To Enter Our 38th Annual Shakespeare Competition

Registration is underway for all Kansas City Metro High Schools and Home School Programs to enter our 38th Annual Shakespeare Competition. The deadline to register is January 24, 2022.

Students in grades 9-12 perform monologues (no more than 20 lines) from Shakespeare's plays and recite Shakespeare's sonnets at initial competitions that participating high schools and home schools organize. The winners of the school competitions then submit videos of their performances to compete in the Kansas City Branch finals.

The winners of ESU branch competitions from across the country advance to the ESU national competition and have an opportunity for an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for the National Finals. Read More.

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News And Events

ESU Happy Hour

January 19, 2022 at 3:00 PM Central Time

ESU welcomes members and friends of ESU to another Happy Hour on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 3:00 pm Central Time. This is a free program, but registration is required.

It is often inferred that John Singer Sargent moved to London because of the scandal over his portrait, Madame X, 1883-4, and there could be some truth to that. He knew that the time was ripe to develop the English market. He couldn't do it by copying British masters, rather he would build a clientele that embraced a distinctly modern, almost flamboyant style of portraiture. That Sargent made a success of his style in Britain passed from history into Legend. Read more.

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Join Us for Our Annual New Year's Brunch Program

Regretfully, our New Year's Brunch has been postponed due to concerns over COVID-19. We will reschedule for a new date very soon. We're very sorry for the inconvenience.

Watch for the new date.

Join us on February 5, 2022, at 12:00 pm for a delightful ESU New Year's Brunch and Annual Meeting as we celebrate many anniversaries. 2022 will mark the first time we have been together in-person as an ESU family since the pandemic changed our world in March 2020. This is a time to celebrate with care as we continue  to bring important, meaningful, and fun ESU programs and events back in-person for our ESU members and Friends of ESU.

To launch our first in-person lecture program in almost two years, we are delighted that our own ESU member, Felicia Londré, Ph.D, author of 14 books, Curators' Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theatre at UMKC, and lecturer around the globe, will give our keynote talk. Read More.

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A Visitor’s Perspective on Cuba in Transition

Guest Speaker: ESU Kansas City Member Ben Martin

Presented in Partnership with The International Relations Council

Cuba sits a mere 90 miles off the U.S. coast, but few from the mainland have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the nuances of Cuba's history, culture, and relationship with the U.S. Join Ben Martin, board member of IRC organizational member The English-Speaking Union, Kansas City Branch, as he reflects on observations and lessons he gleaned from his 2016 visit to this Caribbean nation in transition.


Explore this fascinating trip to Cuba through the eyes of Ben Martin on Tuesday, December 7 at 6:00 pm CST. This is a free program in partnership with the International Relations Council of Kansas City as part of their Global Experience Series of programs. Please register below. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the program on December 7.

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About Ben Martin

Ben Martin taught and directed speech and theatre in Missouri high schools for 34 years before retiring in the spring of 2010 from the Lee's Summit School District. He served many years on the Boards of Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri (President 1987), Missouri State Thespians and the national board of the Educational Theatre Association. Martin is an active advocate for arts education programs, and served as Executive Director for the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education until he re-retired in July, 2020. He continues as the State Advocacy Captain for Americans for the Arts. Ben is currently on the Board of Directors of the English-Speaking Union Kansas City Branch.

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ESU ARNIC Thanksgiving

The ARNIC and English in Action community will share the warmth and spirit of the Thanksgiving season together. Students, alumni, teachers, tutors and all ESU members and Friends of ESU are invited to attend this free event.

Our Thanksgiving Celebration will be online on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at 4:00 pm CST. Join us for a joyous day of gratitude, warmth, and community.

This will be an interactive event with opportunities for you to connect with other members of the ARNIC and ESU community. It will feature speeches by students, alumni and teachers. This free event will be held using Zoom. Please register here:

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In preparation for the event, we want to hear from you. There are two ways that you can contribute your voice to our event:


Send us a recipe

Across the world, food is an important way to bring people together. We want to share some of the recipes from our community. We invite you to submit a recipe from your culture. We will organize all submitted recipes into a community cookbook, which we will share during the holidays. Share your recipe (or recipes!) here!

Express your gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful or grateful for. We want to hear what you think! Let us know what you feel thankful about here. We will share a word cloud with everyone's answers during the event.


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Charles Dickens' London and The Spirit of Victorian Christmas

Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese

Join us for this special ESU Happy Hour event live from London, England. This is a program for the whole family. Bring the little ones with you and watch as Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese gives us a Dickens Christmas tour in London. The fun starts on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 3:00 pm CST.

It is said that writers need a muse to overcome their writer's block. Charles Dickens' muse did not have flowing hair or an ethereal countenance, but solemn churches, heart-warming pubs and dainty cottages: it was London. In this virtual tour, we will visit the sites where the ever-popular novelist lived, as well as the places he frequented in his tireless search for picturesque characters. Bring a warm blanket and a hot drink as we discover how 'the magic lantern', as Dickens called London, shone even brighter at this time of the year, and how the Christmas traditions we know today were shaped by the great Victorian writer. This is a free ESU Happy Hour program but registration is required. 

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About Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese

Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese works as a Blue-badge guide of London, where she conducts private tours to show domestic and international clients both the most iconic landmarks and the hidden gems of the British capital. Prior to settling in Britain, she lived in over a dozen countries over four continents, where she had the opportunity to develop her passion for the arts and foreign languages. Besides sharing her knowledge of the history of London with her visitors, Annamaria is completing her second self-published book.


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The English-Speaking Union

Kansas City Branch

Kansas City Branch Landmark Photo