About Us & Activities

Branch Newsletter February 2013

Dear Members,

What has your branch been up to over the past few months? I thought it would be useful to recap and to advise of events to come, as we all are bombarded with e-mails and access to websites.

What happened to our New Year's Party? Unfortunately, our hostess was ill and was banned from hosting parties for several weeks. The Board felt that by the time late January dawned, the impetus for holding a party was gone and it was determined that we would concentrate on the end-year British Movie and Pudding Night instead. It is our intent, however, to continue with our New Year's party in the future.

What has the newly formed Education Committee been doing? The Branch offered teachers in the local school system the opportunity to have an all expenses paid trip to the UK, either to Oxford or Edinburgh Universities or to the Globe Theatre in London (The British Universities Summer School Programme or BUSS Scholarship). After review of applications, and interviews, two scholars were chosen: Ms. Dana Day from Stuart Country Day School and Mr. Chris Cull from Lawrenceville School. They will be participating in a two-week course on Teaching Shakespeare through Performance at the Globe Theatre. When they return we will ask them to brief the membership regarding their experiences. We have gained experience through this exercise and hope to reach out to more schools next year. Any members with an interest in further education are most welcome to join the Committee as it begins its work for the next year in the fall.

What about the Shakespeare Competition? We have two able Board members who have been organizing this competition, scheduled for Sunday, 24 February at Lawrenceville School. There should be at least 15 participants and 4 judges with expertise in the field of drama/theater and Shakespeare. Coaching of students will be held prior to the actual competition at 3.00 p.m. The winner will participate in the finals held at Lincoln Center on 22 April 2013. Through the competition, students are encouraged to develop their communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature. The National winner will be awarded a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts Young Actors Summer School in London, and two runner-ups receive other prizes.

What other programs are planned for the remainder of the season? There are three more lectures planned – Sunday, 24 March where Matt Campbell, scenic director at the Lawrenceville School, will talk about staging Shakespeare in the 21st century; Sunday, 14 April where Nicolas Bennett, former Member of the House of Commons and Cabinet Member will speak about his experiences in the House and Sunday, 19 May when Alan Ryan, currently a lecturer at Princeton University will speak about his days as a warden
at New College, Oxford. We hope that many of you will consider attending some of these events which are always followed by refreshments.

What have you missed thus far this year? A fascinating lecture, with slides of music in the time of Jane Austen with a recorder and a harpsichord player entertaining us with live music and a wonderful afternoon of Scottish Country Dancing where we were provided with the historical background of each of the dances and at the end were encouraged to join in!

Final event of the season – save the date! Please consider coming to our British Movie and Pudding Night at the home of the Radcliffe-Trenners on Saturday, 29 June 2013. This event is combined with the Annual General Meeting and is always great fun. We have been extraordinarily lucky with the weather too as the event is normally held in the garden. Rugs and mosquito repellant are always available if required

What about the Branch finances? I am pleased to report that our Treasurer, Annabelle Radcliffe-Trenner has done a superb job at getting our finances in order! Several years ago we were fortunate to have a legacy left us and this has been wisely invested so that we have a little over $200,000 in our "kitty". We have developed some financial procedures and stringent guidelines for expenditures and our intent is to use the funds primarily for scholarships to assist youngsters and teachers with further education. We have deliberately kept our annual fees on the low side in order to maintain and hopefully grow our membership.

Please consider coming to more of our events and encouraging friends to join us! We need you!

Finally, please do not forget that we have a wonderful website at: www.esuus.org/princeton.

Yours sincerely,

Dulcie Bull, President
Princeton Branch of the E-SU


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