About Us & Activities

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition

The Competition

The National Shakespeare Competition provides teachers across the country with a performance-based program for the study of English Language Arts and Shakespeare. It is a school-based program serving Grades 9-12. Through the Competition, students develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature. The Competition has engaged more than 400,000 young people since its inception in 1983.

Through the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, students:

  • develop essential skills: critical thinking, close reading and public speaking
  • increase self-confidence through reading, analysis and performance of Shakespeare
  • explore the beauty of Shakespeare's language and classic themes
  • bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and learn to express his words with understanding, feeling and clarity
  • meet local, state and national standards in English Language Arts and Drama.

Students read, analyze, perform and recite Shakespearean monologues and sonnets in three qualifying stages: at the school, community and national levels. Approximately 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students in nearly 60 ESU Branch communities participate each year.

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. Many distinguished judges have served on the Competition panels.


2018-2019 ESU National shakespeare competition: Niagra Frontier/Buffalo branch

The 36th Annual ESU National Shakespeare Competition: Niagra Frontier/Buffalo Branch will take place on March 2nd, 2019 at 10:00 AM, location TBD. The deadline for area schools to register is February 20th, 2019. The deadline for area schools to hold their competition is March 1st, 2019. Contact Al Franco at afranco@starpointcsd.org.