ESU Central Pennsylvania Branch

Welcome to the Central Pennsylvania Branch Page

Welcome to the Central Pennsylvania Branch of The English-Speaking Union.  We are a non-profit, non-political membership organization whose mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community.  Whether you're a student, scholar, soldier, Stratfordian, Scotch-English, singer-of-ballads, or just someone who thinks the English language is cool, we're the group for you.

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News And Events

Saint Francis University Hosts Regional Shakespeare Competition

2018 Central PA Branch Regional Competitors Alex Winnick – Hershey High School, Mary Rose Valentine -- The Delta Program, Ava Rose Wendelken – Carlisle High School, Hope Showers – Juniata Mennonite School, Gillian Letson – Phillipsburg-Osceola High School, Isabelle Snyder – State College High School, Ari Michael Dym – Susquehanna Township High School

Saint Francis University hosted the English Speaking Union's Central PA Regional Shakespeare Competition on Saturday, February 17 at JFK Auditorium. Students from eight high schools presented monologues and sonnets from the works of William Shakespeare. 


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Saint Francis University hosts Central Pennsylvania Branch Shakespeare Competition

Students from eight local schools will compete for a slot in the national competition in New York City

Saint Francis University will host the English Speaking Union Central PA Regional Shakespeare
Competition on Saturday, February 17 at JFK Auditorium from 10am to 12pm. High school students from
eight schools will present a 20-line monologue from one of Shakespeare's plays and their choice of one
of his 154 sonnets.

"This is a great opportunity for the public to come out and see talented individuals perform some
surprising selections from Shakespeare's greatest works," says Competition Coordinator Bonnie M.


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With a performance of Sonnet 119 and the famous "Crispian Day" speech monologue from Shakespeare's "Henry V", Nicholas Bowman from Carlisle, PA, a student of Susan Biondo-Hench at Carlisle High School in Carlisle, competed 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. Nicholas was chosen to represent the ESU Central Pennsylvania Branch competition at the Central PA Regional Finals held at Lock Haven University in February 2017.

Nicholas and nine students from Central PA high schools were part of the group of more than 20,000 high school students nationwide participated in the 2017 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at the school, local, and regional competitions. Nicholas' trip to NYC to participate in the Shakespeare Competition was sponsored by the Departments of Fine Arts and Literature and Language at Saint Francis University, Loretto PA.

On May1st, the 54 regional semifinalists took to stage of the Mitzi E. Newhouse theatre of Lincoln Center to present the 20 line monologue chosen from the Shakespeare Canon of 37 plays, and their choice of one of Shakespeare's 154 sonnets. From these presentations, ten finalists were chosen to present their pieces, and a "cold" (unprepared) reading of a random Shakespeare text to a second set of judges.

The year's winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi Egonu, representing the San 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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Central Pennsylvania Area High School Student to Compete in the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York

February 19, 2017 Nicholas Bowman, student of Susan Biondo-Hench from Carlisle High School in Carlisle, PA achieved first place at the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition Central Pennsylvania Branch heat on Saturday, February 19, 2017, at Lock Haven University, Lock Haven PA.   Nicholas will travel to New York City along with 55 other contestants from around the country to participate in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center Theater on May 1, 2017.  


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Central Pennsylvania Area High School Students 
to Vie for Chance to Compete in the
34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York.

Central Pennsylvania, February 12, 2017  --  

The Central Pennsylvania heat of the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition will take place on  Saturday, February 18, 2017 ( Snow date, Sunday February 19, 2017 in the Parson Union Building at Lock Haven University hosted  by the ESU Central Pennsylvania Branch.  It is open to the winners of area high school Shakespeare competitions that have been held this winter.  It is expected that 9 students representing Central Pennsylvania private and public high schools will participate.  Each one will perform a Shakespearean monologue of his or her choice and recite a sonnet.  Competitors will be judged on their understanding of the texts they perform and on their ability to communicate that understanding to an audience. Judges for the Branch Competition include Charles Dumas, Professor Emeritus from PSU Theatre program,  MG Gainer and Jessica Hylton, Professors at Lock Haven University , Clark Nicholson, Artistic Director of The Gamut Theatre, Harrisburg, and John Woznak, Professor of English Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA.  The competition is free and open to the public.


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The English-Speaking Union

Central Pennsylvania Branch

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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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