About Us & Activities

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition 2018-2019

2019 poster

2018-2019 ESU National Shakespeare Competition

Welcome to the 2018-2019 ESU National Shakespeare Competition! Here is everything you need to begin the competition at the school and branch levels.

About 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 300,000 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.

Documents & Forms


2019 Monologue Packet

2019 Sonnet Packet

Rubrics & Evaluation Forms:

Teacher Handouts:

Sample Memos:

Press Releases (Coming Soon)


Online Competition:

2017-2018 ESU National Shakespeare Competition Results 

Click to read a list of the results.

Click to watch videos of the student performers.

Click to read the 2017-2018 press release.

Click to download the 2017-2018 competition program.

2018-2019 ESU National shakespeare competition: St. Louis branch

The 36th Annual ESU National Shakespeare Competition: St. Louis Branch will take place on February 9th, 2019 at 9:00 AM at Fontbonne University. The deadline for area schools to register is January 14th, 2019. The deadline for area schools to hold their competition is February 1st, 2019. Contact Paula Heller at pheller0404@gmail.com.


The English-Speaking Union

St. Louis Branch

St. Louis 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.

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