News And Events

Carlisle Area High School Student to Compete in the 36th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York

Central PA Branch of the ESU – Regional Competitors Front Row
Brady Chilson – Winner (Carlisle High School), William Shakespeare, Playwright,Eli Weary, CAPA ( Capitol Area Schoof for the Arts) 3rd Place

Emily Carlisle,  Yenisha Lopez (Susquehanna Township High School, Anna Farris( Delta Program), Isabelle Snyder, Alternate, Sadie Sublett (State College Area High School Logan Gunoskey, Julia Malek (Pottsville High School)

Loretto, PA  —Brady Chilson student of  Douglas Hewlett and Susan Biondo-Hench from Carlisle High School in Carlisle, PA achieved first place at the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition Central PA Branch tournament on Saturday February 16, 2019 Brady  will travel to New York City along with more than 50 other contestants from around the country to participate in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center Theater in New York on April 28-30th 2019.

Isabelle Snyder from State College Area HS earned second place, and Eli Weary, representing CASA ( Capitol Area School for the Arts) was awarded third place in the Central PA Branch competition. Each student performed a Shakespearean monologue of their choice and recited a sonnet. Competitors were judged on their understanding of their selected texts and on their ability to communicate their interpretation to the audience. Judges for the Branch Competition included faculty members of Saint Francis University:   Dr. Brennan Thomas Phd. of Literature and Languages Department, Ethan Leydig, actor with Band of Brothers Shakespeare in Stackhouse Park Johnstown, PA, and Alan Zajdel, Shakespeare in performance reviewer.  The Saint Francis competition coordinator was Dr. John Woznak Phd.

Brady Chilson is pleased to represent Carlisle High School who has the distinction of having the most students represent the Central PA Branch at the National Competition. 

Bonnie M. Resinski, Competition Coordinator for ESU thanks all the participants for their continued support for an activity which opens doors of opportunity for students in rural areas.

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition isa performance-based education program in which high school students nationwide read, analyze, perform, and recite Shakespeare's works. Through the program, students develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature. In the Competition's three progressive levels, students perform in their own schools, at ESU Branch community competitions, and at the National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City. Since 1983, more than 300,000 young Americans of all backgrounds have taken advantage of this opportunity to bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and learn to express his words with understanding, feeling, and clarity.

Brady, as the winner of the ESU Central PA  Branch competition will travel to New York City to represent the Branch in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition at the world-renowned Lincoln Center Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater April 28-30th, competing with more than 50 other winners from Branch competitions nationwide. On stage, each will perform a monologue and sonnets before a panel of distinguished judges as well as their fellow contestants. Based on their performances, seven to ten students will advance to a final round. Those finalists, performing their selections along with a cold reading of a monologue, compete for the first place award, which is an all-expenses-paid full three week scholarship to attend he British American Drama Academy in Oxford England. For additional information regarding the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, please visit

Founded in 1920, The English-Speaking Union is a non-profit, non-political educational organization that employs English as a catalyst to foster global understanding and good will through educational and cultural exchange programs. The ESU carries out its work through a network of 58 Branches nationwide along with affiliates in the United Kingdom and 60 other countries. For additional information about the English-Speaking Union, please visit

This Sunday,18 February 2019, marks the 32st year of the English Speaking Union's sponsorship of the National Shakespeare Competition.  After a 1983 pilot program in NYC, Robert (Bob) Brand, a National ESU board member, established the competition on the national level. 

Bob Brand, who had retired to State College, PA after a career as an Assistant Secretary of State under the Reagan Administration, the US Counsel for General to the UK under Margaret Thatcher, and president of the Washington DC branch of the ESU, founded the Central PA Branch of the ESU.  In 1987, the first Central PA Regional competition was held, and the winner was among the competitors in the first annual ESU National Shakespeare Competition.  Two  competitors from the Central PA Branch, Robert Campbell, and Rachel Barthmaier, have placed 2nd and 3rd in National Competition.   To join the Central PA Branch in support of the Shakespeare Competition, email .


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