News And Events

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.  

The Department of Literature and Language and the Fine Arts Department of Saint Francis University, Loretto PA are the sponsors underwriting the Central PA Region winner's trip to compete in the National Shakespeare Competition. 

Gillian Letson, from Phillipsburg-Osceola High School, earned second place, and two students, Ryann Babb and Alexis Soto from The Delta Program and State College Area High School were awarded third place in the Central Pennsylvania 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 that understanding to the audience. Judges for the Branch Competition included Charles Dumas, Professor of Theatre Emeritus, Penn State University, Mary (MG) Gainer and Jessica Hylton, Professors from Lock Haven University, Clark Nicholson, Artistic Director of GAMUT Theatre, Harrisburg, PA and John Woznak, Phd. from Saint Francis University, Loretto, PA.  The competition was attended by Peter Hambridge, the ESU Walter Hines Page Scholar from Heretfordshire UK, engaged in researching aspects of the American educational system.   His visit to conduct research in the United States was granted by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Peter shared how Shakespeare stories and plays had been a curricular part of his school days from age five.  

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.

Nicholas Bowman as the winner of the ESU Central Pennsylvania 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 Newhouse Theater on May 1, competing with 55 winners of other 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 scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center's summer Theater Camp in Staunton, VA.  For additional information regarding the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, please visit here

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 . In the first week in April, for the will be hosting a second Walter Hines Page Scholar, Patrick Ryan.  

 For details about the ESU Central Pennsylvania Branch or to join the Branch please visit  or
contact: Karen Blain-Brand at
814-237-7033 or 
Bonnie M. Resinski   814-472-6774 


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