English in Action: The English-Speaking Union

News and Events

News and Events

Shakespeare as “Political Theater” Et tu, ESU?

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition and "Political Theater"
by Christopher Hodgkins

Now everybody wants into the act! Few people who follow the arts or just follow the news can have missed the controversy over the New York Public Theater's production of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, which had its final performance in Central Park's Delacorte Theater on June 18. The performance is acted in contemporary costumes, and Caesar—wearing a flamboyant suit and an orange-blond coif much like President Donald Trump's—seems to be slain in the American and not the Roman Capitol, meeting an especially bloody end in Act 3 at the hands of very modern senatorial conspirators. In response, some of the President's supporters—and some who simply think that this interpretation disrespects the Presidency and incited a recent attempted massacre of Republican Congressmen—have spoken out against the show, interrupted the performance, or even stormed the stage. Perhaps the producers provoked more audience reaction than they bargained for! And some people think that Shakespeare is irrelevant or boring . . .

Read Full Story

ARNIC Graduation and ESU Founder's Award Ceremony

On June 1, the English-Speaking Union Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center celebrated the accomplishments of its members with a graduation ceremony hosted by the Open Society Foundations, financial supporters of the program, at their offices in New York City.

The Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC), named for the program's key visionary and supporter, Andrew Romay, helps recently arrived immigrants improve their English through free ESL classes and conversation sessions and acquire cultural fluency through field trips, workshops and networking opportunities. Launched in January 2013, the ARNIC Program has served more than 800 new Americans.

Read Full Story

Teenager from San Francisco wins 2017 English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition

The three winners of the 2017
English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition
on stage at Lincoln Center in New York City
(l to r) – Third place winner Trevon Wainwright, First place winner Ogechi Egonu, and Second place winner Brandon Burk.


With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare's Othello, Ogechi Egonu from San Francisco, CA, a student of Jennifer Grimes at San Domenico School in San Anselmo, won the 34th annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the Mitzi Newhouse Theater stage at Lincoln Center in New York City with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Ogechi previously won the ESU San Francisco competition.

As the winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi received a full scholarship to the American Shakespeare Center Theater 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.

The finalists were:

Chinyelu Mwaafrika - Indianapolis Branch - Shortridge High School
Mya Ison - Research Triangle Branch - Enloe High School
Lee Ann Bael - New York City Branch - Edward R. Murrow High School
Malenky Welsh - Greenwich Branch - ACES Education Center for the Arts
Judy Durkin - Los Angeles Branch - Santa Monica High School
Rutvik Ashtikar - Princeton Branch - JP Stevens High School
Padraig Bond - Albany Branch - Shenendehowa High School

Read Full Story

ESU Branches to Send 40 Teacher-Scholars to the UK for Summer Study

 

The Teachers Learning Abroad - TLab program has long provided American high school teachers the opportunity to continue their education at prestigious centers of learning in the United Kingdom.  This summer, 20 English-Speaking Union Branches will send 40 teacher-scholars to summer programs at the University of Oxford, Shakespeare's Globe Theater in London, and the University of Edinburgh.

Summer 2017 represents a particularly exciting time for TLab teacher-scholars. Each teacher has selected and applied to a program of their choosing, and their ESU scholarship will cover all or portions of tuition, room and board and, in some cases, travel to the UK. Teacher-scholars will spend between two and three weeks in active study and will return home to begin a new school year invigorated and equipped to share their newly acquired teaching and learning strategies with colleagues and some 4,000 students.

Read Full Story

          Remembering Andrew Romay                         1922 to 2017

The Board and staff of the English-Speaking Union, with sorrow and sincere gratitude, remember the life and work of our beloved benefactor Dr. Andrew Romay, who passed away early this morning, February 10, 2017. 

Andrew Romay's favorite project was the program that is named for him, the English-Speaking Union Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC), and he wanted it to be his legacy for many years to come. Please support ARNIC today to honor Andrew Romay's memory and his wishes, donate here. 

Read Full Story

Announcing: New Study/Travel Courses in the UK for Teachers and ESU Members – at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Shakespeare's Globe, Oxford University and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford upon Avon!

The ESU has expanded its study abroad programs: Teachers Learning Abroad - UK.  In addition to the time-tested British University Summer School scholarship programs for teachers, TLab-UK offers new week-long courses, created exclusively by and for the ESU, which are open to teachers across the country as well as ESU members and life-long learners. The new TLab courses provide affordable educational / travel opportunities, unique to the ESU's heritage.  Course descriptions are posted on the ESU website, but here is the list of TLab-UK course offerings for 2017:

Read Full Story

Announcing: Luard-Morse Scholars for 2017-2018

NEWBERRY AND RAMSAY WIN $50,000 IN SCHOLARSHIPS
TO STUDY IN ENGLAND AS 2017 LUARD MORSE SCHOLARS

                              
                Mr. Leondre Ramsay                        Ms. Serena Newberry     

New York City: Ms. Serena Newberry, an English Education and Pre-Law major from Southfield, MI, a student at Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA, and Mr. Leondre Ramsay, a Political Science major and Community Development minor from Tallahassee, FL, a student at Howard University, Washington, DC, have each been selected as recipients of an English-Speaking Union Luard Morse Scholarship.  Christopher Broadwell, Executive Director of the English-Speaking Union, announced the winners, noting that each scholar will receive $25,000 toward a semester of study at any university their choosing in the United Kingdom during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Read Full Story

Holiday Celebrations at ESU-English in Action

The English-Speaking Union celebrated the end of 2016 with two joyful holiday festivities for the ARNIC and EiA communities.

On November 21st, the English-Speaking Union hosted a special Thanksgiving feast to introduce members of its Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) and guests to this most iconic of American traditions. Three ARNIC alumni, Mohamed Berrakaoui, Leo Borello, and Alyona Glushchenkova, spoke to the assembly. They thanked Dr. Andrew Romay, founder and primary sponsor of ARNIC, for his support and shared their experiences in ARNIC that have helped them find paths to success in the US.  Each of them explained that this was the first time they had made public speaches in English. 

Read Full Story

Welcome Reception for British Consul General

On November 7, 2016, the ESU formally welcomed Antonia Romeo, the new British Consul General in New York with a reception at the ESU House hosted by ESU Chairman, Dr. Paul Beresford-Hill CBE KSt.J, and Executive Director, Christopher Broadwell.

Read Full Story

"What Should I Do?" ARNIC Theater

Members of the Andrew Romay New Immigrant Center (ARNIC) once again demonstrated their extraordinary talents when they work and staged a premiere production of a new play at the English-Speaking Union. The play, "What Should I Do?" was written and directed by Gyunhyeong Kim and performed by Nataliia Omelchenko and Mamadou Diabate.

Reflecting their experiences as new immigrants, the play throws a spotlight on a moment when we stand at the crossroads of life: the stark choices which face us all and which, as one character put it, define "our short and irreversible lives." We watch as two people wrestle with this dilemma: Patricia (Nataliia), a talented painter who aspires to be an actress, and John (Mamadou), an acting coach, frustrated in his search for a talented acting pupil but discovering the gifted artist before him.  

Read Full Story