News And Events

Christmas Party

Father Christmas (aka Ron Brown) ladled punch, and harpist Marjorie Mollenaur  played while members and guests of the Monmouth Country ESU gathered for their annual Christmas Party at the Rumson Country Club. 

Branch President Ralph Wyndrum welcomed the attendees and presented a signed and framed photo of last year's Board to past president Richard Biernacki.  Mr. Wyndrum also announced that the Branch had met a challenge grant to raise $1,000 in donations; these funds will enable the Branch to fund education activities, including the  Folger Teaching Shakespeare Workshop for High School Teachers to be held at the Two River Theater on March 1st of 2016.


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An English Pub Night

Download a registration card here. 


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Downton Abbey Themed Tea, Period Fashion Show, and Shakespeare Recitations Presented by the Monmouth County English-Speaking Union

Mrs. Patmore may have approved of the variety of finger sandwiches; Mrs. Hughes certainly would have enjoyed the flavored teas, Lady Cora would have worn a stylish hat and greeted everyone warmly, Mr. Carson might have frowned at the lack of footmen, but he would have been moved by the Shakespearean recitations;  The Dowager Countess surely would have bristled at the use of the words "high tea" and Lady Mary would have rolled her eyes at it all…….Still the 50 or so guests who assembled at Bingham Hall in Rumson on Sunday, April 12, for a Downton Abbey themed tea were, to all appearances, quite delightfully entertained by The Monmouth County English-Speaking Union's annual event which this year featured a Victorian/1920's fashion show and tea tasting, provided courtesy of  Suzanne Ryan of Serya Tea.  (


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Page Scholar, Andrew Nowak, Is Hosted By The Monmouth County New Jersey Branch

First row, left to right:  Board Members:  Robin Blair, Richard Biernacki, Janet Smuga, Harry Brady

Second row:  left to right:  David Henritzy, Andrew Nowark, Page Scholar; Ron Brown, Janet Pitman

 Andrew Nowak makes a strong impression as a young man dedicated to finding and implementing improvements in the education of students on the autism spectrum.  As such, he was awarded a Walter Hines Page Scholarship by the British ESU for further study of this field in the U.S., and he elected to visit Monmouth County New Jersey where members of The English-Speaking Union were pleased to host him.   

To see more pictures of Andrew's visit, please click here. 


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Annual Shakespeare Competition for High School Students 2015

 Left to right: Richard Biernacki, President, Monmouth County ESU; Naomi Stuart, 1st place from Glen Ridge High School; Patrick Monaghan, 2nd place from Red Bank Regional High School; Lauren Pelaia, 3rd place from Colts Neck High School, Janet Smuga, Shakespeare Competition Chairperson

Annual Shakespeare Competition for High School Students

On February 28th, a dozen high school students each took the stage at the Middletown Arts Center and, without scenery, costumes or props, brought Shakespeare's words to life.  Each had practiced and prepared, each had studied and rehearsed, and all of them performed wonderfully.  It was the 25th annual Shakespeare Competition for high school students sponsored by the Monmouth County Branch of the English-Speaking Union, and the stakes were high.  The winner will go on to a national competition at Lincoln Center in New York on April 26 - 28, where the top prize will include an all-expenses paid trip to study acting in England.

Despite the competition, the atmosphere among the students was mutually supportive.  Their audience included teachers, parents, and members of the ESU, as well as five theater professionals who served as expert judges.  Each student presented a sonnet and a short monologue.

Third place, and a cash award, went to Lauren Pelaia from Colts Neck High School for her impassioned Hamlet, berating himself that he could not summon up as much emotion as a mere actor.  Second place was taken by Patrick Monaghan from Red Bank Regional, whose intelligent Hal from Henry V was by turns humorous and furious.  Honorable mention goes to Guy Rose, from Middletown North, for his outraged Edmund from King Lear, and Jess Fisher, from Middletown South, for her charming Rosalind from As You Like It.

First place went to Naomi Stuart of Glen Ridge High School, whose delightful Phoebe from As You Like It wavers between maidenly circumspection and full-hearted celebration of her youthful crush on the handsome young Ganymede.  What she doesn't know is that her heart-throb is actually a woman, Rosalind, disguised as a man.

Naomi will enter the National competition in May, but you needn't go so far nor wait so long to see her.  She, Patrick, and Lauren will repeat their performances at Bingham Hall in Rumson, on April 12th at 3 pm, when the ESU will host a Spring Tea, open to the public.  An added attraction: this year's tea has a Downton Abbey theme; period costumes will be modeled at the event.  Join us there for refreshments and to see these excellent young people act!  For details contact the branch president, Richard Biernacki, at


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The English-Speaking Union

Monmouth County NJ Branch

Monmouth County NJ Branch Landmark Photo

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.