A performance-based educational program serving grades 9-12
Kansas City Shakespeare Competition

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based education program. High school students develop analytical and communication skills by performing Shakespeare at the school, community, and national levels. Since 1983 more than 360,000 students have brought the timeless works of Shakespeare to life. 2024 marks the 40th year the ESU Kansas City Branch has participated in the National Shakespeare Competition. The Kansas City Branch has had two first place National winners, one second place National winner, and one third place National winner.

The 2024 ESU National Shakespeare Competition is underway in schools across the country. Following are upcoming deadlines for this year’s competition:

  • Branch Registration (Extended) Deadline – October 30, 2023
  • School Registration (Extended) Deadline – November 30, 2023
  • Branch Competitions must be held prior to March 10, 2024
  • Branch Winner Packets must be returned to ESU by March 17, 2024

The competition finals will be held at Lincoln Center in NYC in late April (Date TBA)

2024 Prizes Include:

  • 1st place: British American Drama Academy Mid-Summer Conservatory Program in Oxford, London
  • 2nd place: American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA
  • 3rd place: $1000

Seasonal Info

Fall (School Level)

The program begins in classrooms nationwide each fall, culminating in school-wide competitions in early winter in which students memorize and perform a monologue.

Winter (Community Level)

The school competition winner advances to a community ESU Branch competition, usually held between January and March. Here students perform their monologue and a Shakespearean sonnet. The winner advances to the national competition held in New York City.

Spring (National Level)

At the ESU National Shakespeare Competition (held in late April, near Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23), students perform their monologues and sonnets in New York City before a distinguished panel of judges as well as their fellow contestants from across the country. Based on their performances, seven to ten students advance to the final round. Finalists compete for cash prizes and the opportunity to attend a summer drama program.