News And Events

News And Events

Presummer Night's Reception

To honor the this year's ESU awards and scholarships recipients, as well as the Queen's Birthday, the ESU hosted a Pre-summer Night's Reception. Members mingled with, and were treated to performances and talks by, Branch winners of the National Shakespeare Competition, BUSS Fellowship recipients and the ESU New York Middle School Debate Champions from the Hackley School. 

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Registration Open: 2015 Shakespeare Teacher Workshops

Announcement Photo

Registration now open to the Summer 2015 Teaching Shakespeare Workshops in New York City (July 23 & 24). Teaching Shakespeare Workshops, a partnership between the ESU and the world-renowned Folger Shakespeare Library, give teachers nationwide the tools that they need to bring Shakespeare to life in their classrooms. These workshops are lead by experts from the Folger National Teacher Corps and focus on the Folger Four (scholarship, performance, curriculum and assessment). They are open to both current educators and pre-service teachers with all levels of experience. Find out more about these upcoming workshops. 

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NYC Teen a Finalist at the 2015 ESU National Shakespeare Competition

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Willington Vuelto, 2015 Competition Finalist, onstage at Lincoln Center.

With his performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Willington Vuelto of New York City, a student of Gabriel Silva at Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts, placed as one of 10 finalists at the 32nd annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition was held on April 27th at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City for 57 winners of ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Will had previously won the ESU New York Branch regional competition.

View photos of the 2015 National Competition. 

Watch videos of the 2015 Competition Finalists.

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Eighteen Minutes That Changed the World - The Sinking of the Lusitania

The English Speaking Union
cordially invites you to a talk by 

Diana Preston

Monday, May 4, 2015,
The English-Speaking Union
144 East 39th Street, New York City 
Talk begins promptly at 6:30 PM 


The Cunard liner Lusitania sailed from New York on May 1, 1915 to be sunk by a German submarine without warning six days later. This attack on civilians during the first year of the First World War provoked international condemnation. The heavy loss of life - including 120 of the 200 citizens of the still neutral United States on board - became a major factor in America's entry into the war in the spring of 1917. This is a story of personal tragedy on the scale of "Titanic" but also a geo-political tale with special resonance in the year we mark the centenary of the outbreak of the 'war to end all wars.'

For more information and for online registration click here. 

Click here for the mail-in registration form. 

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2015 British University Summer School Scholarships Awarded

Stephen Weber, Lorraine Prout and Grace "Sid" Ray

ESU New York awarded BUSS Scholarships for Summer 2015 to two talented New York City teachers. Stephen Weber, English Department Chair and teacher at Pace High School in Manhattan, hopes to use his full scholarship to attend Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance at Shakespeare's Globe in London. Lorraine Prout, from Archimedes Academy in the Bronx, received a partial scholarship and looks forward to studying Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh.  

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2015 Shakespeare Competition Results

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Left to Right: Amari Leigh; Willington Vuelto; Alexander Kestenbaum

Willington Vuelto, a student of Gabriel Silva at Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in Manhattan, won the 2015 English-Speaking Union New York Branch Shakespeare Competition.  Alexander Kestenbaum from SAR High School in the Bronx placed 2nd, and Amari Leigh from Hunter College High School in Manhattan placed 3rd. Congratulations to all the students who participated this year, and many thanks to their teachers and schools!  Please click below to read the full story.

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Brunel - The Man who Changed the World

Hear a talk by 

Robert Hulse

Monday, April 13, 2015,
The English-Speaking Union
144 East 39th Street, New York City 
Talk begins promptly at 6:30 PM 

The Victorians' favorite word for machines and engineering was 'promethean' and the adjective suggests gigantic, world changing, world shocking design. Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) was the quintessential promethean engineer who changed the world. His first project, London's Thames Tunnel, is the birthplace of urban transport. It was the eighth wonder of the world to the Victorians. His last project, the SS Great Eastern, changed trade and the shape of the world. People lined Manhattan fifty deep to see the first modern ocean liner come up the river in 1860. Robert Hulse will examine Brunel as visionary engineer, showman and world changer. Of Isambard Brunel, BBC broadcaster Jeremy Clarkson explained, 'Brunel built Britain, and Britain built the world, which means Brunel built the world'.

For more information and for online registration click here. 

Click here for the mail-in registration form. 

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Shakespeare Competition Finalists

The semi-finals of the 2015 ESU New York Branch Shakespeare Competition were held this week at the New York Public LibraryThe judges selected twelve high school students to advance to the finals (scheduled for Tuesday, March 10th at The Morgan Library & Museum). For a list of finalists, please click below to read the full story. 

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Special Presentation by Carol Wallace: To Marry an English Lord

Event  is Sold Out!

The Carol Wallace Talk is Sold Out.  We are no longer accepting registrations or selling tickets.  We will not be able to accommodate those who come without a prior registration or who have not purchased tickets in advance.


Carol Wallace
Co-author of the highly acclaimed book
To Marry an English Lord

The Inspiration for Julian Fellowes'
Downton Abbey

Thursday, January 8, 2015
The English-Speaking Union
144 East 39th Street, New York City

When Julian Fellowes was approached to create the now world-acclaimed TV series Downton Abbey, he was reading Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace's book, which he called "a marvelous and entertaining study of the American girls who came over to England, mostly between 1890 and 1914, to marry into the British aristocracy." To Marry an English Lord, which was first published in 1989 and has been reissued for Downton Abbey fans, explores both the glamour and the misfortune that greeted some 100+ newly-minted American heiresses who,  having been snubbed by the Social Register, invaded Great Britain to swap dollars for titles.

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Free Sonnet Workshop for Teachers

Announcement Photo

We invite NYC area high school teachers to join us for a free interactive workshop on Shakespeare's sonnets and beyond (January 14th from 4:00-6:00 pm at The Morgan Library & Museum). Space is limited.  Register by January 12th. This program is offered in partnership with The Morgan Library & Museum and Teachers & Writers Collaborative (Poetry Out Loud). 

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