News And Events

News And Events

President's Message

To My Fellow Members of the English-Speaking Union,

It has been my pleasure to serve as your President for the past three years.  It has been a historic period for our Branch and for E SU National with changes to our organizational structure, the services provided to the Branches, to Wrench Speakers and other historic programs, and our Shakespeare Competition.

Your Board has responded to these changes and provided the extra effort needed to implement the changes.  As I look back on the three years, I am amazed at all the activity that has occurred and very grateful for their service.

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Third Annual Scholars' Reunion

The Central Florida Branch of ESU held its annual Scholars' Reunion at Marlow's Tavern in Winter Park, Wednesday afternoon, March 28 from 5:00-7:00. After everyone gathered, Reta Jackson, Scholar Chair, introduced the new 2018 Scholars, who are jetting off to London and Oxford this summer for the TLAB summer programs. Sandra Powers took a moment to explain the Branch's new plans for changing meeting times to better accommodate teacher schedules, and Jan McClure announced the dates for our Shakespeare 2.0 Workshop this June. But, most important, this was a party, filled with friends greeting each other with hugs and non-stop conversations. Drinks and platters of food were not the center of this event; instead, the sound of excited planning and sharing experiences filled the room. One scholar exclaimed, "I just love the chance to talk with the friends I made from my summer in London and share what's happening in my classroom." 

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2018 Shakespeare Competition Results

Our 16 contestants in the Central Florida branch Shakespeare Competition.


On February 26, sixteen students from the tri-county area arrived at The University Club to participate in The English-Speaking Union's annual Shakespeare competition. Vying for the opportunity to win $1,000.00 for First Place, along with an additional $500.00 to cover the cost of travel and the chance to perform in New York City, this year's contenders made for difficult judging decisions. On the panel of judges this year were Anne Hering: Director of Education at The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Kate Ingram: Associate Professor and Graduate Acting Program Coordinator at UCF, and Dr

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2018 Drey Scholars Honored at Reception

Joseph Cummiskey, Jennifer Gautier, Elaine Wiedemer, Amanda Dickson, Barbara Ihns and Reta Jackson, Scholar Chair

Members of the Central Florida Branch of ESU gathered with friends and families of the teachers chosen as 2018 Drey Scholars at the Winter Park University Club on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 25th.

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The Englishness of Georg Frideric Handel

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January Dinner Meeting

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Central Florida Branch Program Meeting December 4, 2017


Dr. Grant Cornwell, President of Rollins College, spoke to our membership on the topic: On Purpose: Liberal Education and the Question of Values. Dr. Cornwell then answered questions from the audience on issues ranging from the concerns of the proposed tax bill's impact on higher education to why higher education costs have skyrocketed in recent years to the role of sororities and fraternities on college campuses.

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2017 TLAB Scholars Present Reports to the Membership

From left to right Cynthia Hutsell(Oxford), Sheri Hjelm (Oxford), Gabriella David's (theGlobe), Gail Chase (the Globe), Nancy West (Oxford) and Reta Jackson, Scholar Chair.

One member of the audience at the Central Florida Branch's November 13th meeting told me, "I expected the ESU event to be informative, but I found it inspirational! Congrats on such an inspiring group of teachers. I envy their students and applaud these teachers…." I think everyone will agree that Cynthia Hutsell, Nancy West and Sheri Hjelm reporting on their experiences at Oxford this summer and Gabriella Davids with Gail Chase explaining how the Globe Theater's program impacted their teaching was an outstanding program. The key word of the afternoon was "transformative."  Each teacher demonstrated the importance of being a life long learner and how that translates in her classroom. We will hear from James Brendlinger, who attended the Creative Writing program at the University of Scotland in Edinburgh, at a future meeting as James had a bout with the flu bug. Our Branch is so fortunate to have such amazing scholars.

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Dinner with Harpist Jan Jennings

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CENTRAL FLORIDA TEEN COMPETES IN 34th ANNUAL ENGLISH-SPEAKING UNION NATIONAL SHAKESPEARE COMPETITON IN NEW YORK CITY

With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Paige Pedersen  from Orlando, FL, a student of Louise Williams at Olympia High School in Orlando, placed as a semi-finalist in the 34th  annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the stage of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Paige previously won the ESU Central Florida Branch competition.

This year's winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi Egonu, representing theSan Francisco Branch, received a full scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA, this summer.  Second place winner, Brandon Burk, from the Kentucky Branch, won a cash prize of $1,000 from The English-Speaking Union, while the third place winner, Trevon Wainwright, representing the Kansas City Branch of the ESU, received an award of $500 provided by The Shakespeare Society.

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The English-Speaking Union

Central Florida Branch

Central Florida 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.