ESU New York City Branch

Message from the New York Branch

Dear Fellow New York Branch Members,

Our fall season was quite eventful, characterized by some unexpected and welcome events. These included two lectures on Art Deco architecture in Great Britain and Australia in conjunction with the Art Deco Society of New York, a cabaret evening at the Algonquin with Steve Ross organized by Elizabeth Sharland Jones, an Amateur Comedy Club performance of Noises Off! and a related reception.  Before November is over, we will have had a lively evening recording a podcast talk for national distribution featuring Randy Cohen and Peter Gilliver, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary

As the season draws to an end, and as has been our custom, we are now gearing ups for our end-of-year Yuletide Party.  Again this year, we are collaborating with The British Schools & Universities Club, and the Yuletide Party will take place here at the English-Speaking Union, 144 East 39th Street.  The festivities begin at 6:00pm and feature an open bar, hors d'oeuvres, buffet dinner, caroling, a panto, and a "white elephant" gift exchange.  We hope to see you then! 

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News And Events

Dana Ivey

Person Place Thing is an interview show hosted by Randy Cohen based on the idea that people are particularly engaging when they speak, not directly about themselves, but about something they care about.  Cohen's guests talk about one person, one place, and one thing that are important to them. The result: surprising stories from great speakers. This installment of Person Place Thing will be a conversation with Dana Ivey. It will be recorded and, about six weeks later, broadcast across Northeast Public Radio, a 23 station regional network, and made available as a podcast on

Register online here, or download the paper form to mail in your registration. 


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Ciphers, Secrets, and Spies in the Elizabethan Age

The Elizabethan era (1558-1603) is often depicted as the "Golden Age" in England's history—an era of great exploration and military victories in which Queen Elizabeth I is represented in sumptuous clothing and jewels.  But the reality, which included religious conflicts that tore families apart, political challenge to Elizabeth's authority, high levels of poverty and crime, and vulnerability to foreign invasion, was far grimmer.  The Queen was considered a Protestant heretic by the rulers of Europe, and numerous plots were hatched to dethrone her in favor of Catholic Mary Queen of Scots. Elizabeth's closest courtiers. notably William Cecil (1st Baron Burghley) and Francis Walsingham—the "Spymaster"—attempted to protect her. Walsingham's network of clandestine agents unearthed a series of threats, including one led by an invasion of priests trained abroad and sent to England and hidden in "priest-holes" by Catholic families in places as Baddesly Clinton and Coughton Court in Warwickshire to prepare for a Catholic rebellion.


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The Long Dark Hall

Monday, March 25, 2019
6:30 p.m.
The English-Speaking Union
144 East 39th Street, New York City

In a London still rebuilding after World War II, suburban businessman Arthur Groome (Rex Harrison) carries on an extramarital affair with Rose (Patricia Wayne), a chorus girl. One night, Arthur lets himself into Rose's small apartment and discovers that she has been brutally stabbed to death. Fleeing in a panic, Arthur incriminates himself in her death and is charged with her murder. As the case goes to trial, the real killer becomes friendly with Arthur's steadfast wife, Mary (Lilli Palmer).


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Jules Verne Eats a Rhinoceros

Tuesday, February 19 from 6:00 to 10:30 pm

The English-Speaking Union invites you to a pre-theater wine-and-cheese reception followed by a performance of The Amateur Comedy Club production of Don Nigro's "Jules Verne Eats a Rhinoceros".

To register online, please click here. 


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The Lady of the Tower

"Even the kept must have their keepers." So opens Elizabeth St.John's critically-acclaimed historical fiction novel of her ancestress's life in the most famous prison in the world—The Tower of London.  Orphaned Lucy St.John defies English society by carving her own path through the decadent Stuart court. In 1609, the early days of the rule of James I—time of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk, but her envious sister Barbara is determined to ruin her happiness. Exiling herself from the court, Lucy finds her own path, becoming mistress of the Tower of London. Riding the coattails of the king's favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, the fortunes of the St.Johns rise to dizzying heights. But with great wealth comes betrayal, leaving Lucy to fight for her survival—and her honor—in a world of patronage and deceit.

Register online here. 


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The English-Speaking Union

New York City Branch

New York City 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.