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TEENAGER FROM QUEENS, NY WINS NATIONAL SHAKESPEARE COMPETITION

Captivating audiences with a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Xavier Pacheco from Corona, New York, a student of Gabriel Silva at the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts in New York City, won first prize at the 30th season of the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition.  The Competition was held on April 22nd at Lincoln Center in New York City for 58 winners of ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Xavier had previously won the ESU New York Branch regional competition.  For placing first at the national competition, he will attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art's Young Actors Summer School in London, England.

The runner up of the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, 
Anna Bortnick, representing the Boston Branch of the ESU, won a full scholarship including travel to the American Shakespeare Center's Theatre Camp in Staunton, Virginia.  Third place winner, Henry Ayres-Brown, representing the Greenwich Branch of the ESU, won $500 from the Shakespeare Society.

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition is a school-based program to help students develop their speaking and critical thinking skills and their appreciation of literature as they explore the beauty of the language and timeless themes in Shakespeare's works.  In three progressive competition levels, students memorize, interpret, and perform monologues and sonnets in their own schools, at ESU Branch sponsored community competitions and at the National Shakespeare Competition.  The program has engaged more than 250,000 young people.  Citing its 30th season this year, the Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York, proclaimed April 22 as William Shakespeare Day.  Mark Thompson, President & CEO, The New York Times Company, read the proclamation and Danny Lopez, The British Consul-General in New York, awarded certificates to the competitors.

The ESU provided the Branch winners with two full days of educational and cultural activities, including an exclusive acting workshop at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a performance of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Julius Caesar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Perhaps best of all for these teenagers was the opportunity to spend a weekend in New York City with other students from across the country who share a love of theater, language and, particularly, Shakespeare.

The Finals Competition judges were: Adjoa Andoh, Royal Shakespeare Company and West End actress who is currently appearing in the role of Portia in the RSC production of Julius Caesar at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen, Co-Founder of the American Shakespeare Center, Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature in Performance at Mary Baldwin College and author of ShakesFear and How to Cure It: A Handbook for Teaching ShakespearePeter Francis James, Obie, Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Award-winning Broadway, West End, film and television actor; Tina Packer, director, actor, playwright and author, currently appearing in her work Women of Will, and founder of Shakespeare & Company, a center for training, education and performance; Annie Parisse, Broadway, television and film actor, currently appearing on Fox's The Following.

THE ESU OF THE UNITED STATES GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGES THE SUPPORTERS OF THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING UNION NATIONAL SHAKESPEARE COMPETITION'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY:

Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill, MBE
Jean Paul & Margaret Elard
Vivien H. Gurfein
Ludmila S. Hess
Dorothy N. Hidalgo
Marjorie Kennedy
Mary Ann Moran
Natalie T. Pray
The Honorable Patricia S. Schroeder
Dr. Henry P. Williams, III
Bessie L. Wilson
The Achelis and Bodman Foundations
The American Shakespeare Center
Marguerite Casey Foundation
Bernard Gersten & Lincoln Center Theater
J. M. Kaplan Fund
F. M. Kirby Foundation, Inc.
The Morgan Library & Museum
The Mountbatten Institute
The New York Public Library
The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)
The Shakespeare Society
Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

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Three winners of the 2013
English-Speaking Union
National Shakespeare Competition and Competition Judges:
(l to r) Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen,
Henry Ayres-Brown, Tina Packer, Peter Francis James, Anna Bortnick, Xavier Pacheco, Adjoa Andoh, Annie Parisse.

ESU Monroe Branch Representative Hannah McNew performs onstage at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center Theater

ESU National Shakespeare Competition Semi-Finalists gather around the Shakespeare statue in Central Park, New York City

Ben Ellsworth from the ESU Phoenix Branch delights the audience as Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing


Casey Pressler of the ESU Jackson Branch performs as Queen Margaret from Richard III


ESU National Shakespeare Competition Semi-Finalists warm up onstage

Eunjeong (Hannah) Jeong of the ESU Toldeo Branch recites Sonnet 90

ESU National Shakespeare Competition Finalists