News And Events

Matthew Grigoratos Performs in Semi-Finals
in 36th Annual National Shakespeare Competition
in New York City

April 29th may have been a normal Monday for most high school students, but for Matthew Grigoratos, a Junior at Blue Valley High School, it will be a day to remember forever. Matthew, a student of Maureen Davis, placed as a semifinalist at the 36th Annual National Shakespeare Competition.

Matthew competed against 52 students from around the US on stage at the Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater at Lincoln Center Theater. The event is the culmination of a year-long competition hosted by the English-Speaking Union (ESU).

To qualify for the National Shakespeare Competition semi-finals, Matthew won the regional ESU Kansas City Branch Shakespeare Competition earlier this year.

Veteran judge and acclaimed actor Dana Ivey commented on the student performances,

"I am always amazed by the delight and focus these students bring to their investigation of the text. They often bring surprises in interpretation that are entertaining and enlightening."

 

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ESU Celebrates 2019 British Gala

Brits International, a Kansas City-based non-profit organization, is hosting their 8th Annual British Gala KC. All ESU members and Friends of ESU are welcome to attend this one-day festival of all-things-British!

The ESU Kansas City Branch will have an information table at the British Gala so be sure to stop by and say hello to our ESU volunteers!  Bring your family and friends as there is something for all ages!

 

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Romeo and Juliet 
Script in Hand

William Shakespeare's seminal play? It's difficult if not impossible to choose among the Bard's many masterpieces, but Romeo and Juliet makes just about every short list of contenders. It's one of his two most-performed pieces (with A Midsummer Night's Dream), especially popular in the U.S.

When you are passionately in love, nothing else matters – as seen in Shakespeare's well known tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. These teen lovers are irresistibly drawn to each other despite an ancient feud between their two families. Defying the hatred and distrust surrounding them, they dare to face all odds to be together.

 

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Added Membership Value for First-Time Members

Even though our new membership year doesn't begin for three months on July 1, there is an opportunity in this fourth quarter (April, May, June) for new members to take advantage of bonus months during their first year of membership. 

If a new member enrolls during the fourth quarter of the membership year, that is, during April, May or June, their membership will carry over into the new membership year.  That means the new member gets one, two or three extra months in their first-year membership depending on which month in the fourth quarter they enrolled.

 

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Let's Go to the Movies with the
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival

 

Every year, ESU members gather together for an ESU Festival Group Night at the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival's production at Southmoreland Park. This year's HASF's production is Shakespeare in Love. This is the theatrical adaptation of the movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Ben Affleck, Colin Firth and Judy Dench. This delightfully romantic comedy won seven Academy Awards in 1998 including Best Picture, Best Actress, Gwyneth Paltrow; Best Supporting Actress, July Dench and Best Costume Design.

The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has teamed up with the Alamo Drafthouse Movie Theatre in downtown Kansas City to show this outstanding movie before the Festival's own stage production opens this summer.

On Monday, April 15 the Alamo Drafthouse (for this event, referred to as Alamo House of Draft) and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival will host a special showing of the movie Shakespeare in Love AND before the feature, the Festival's talented actors will perform an awesome scene from Romeo and Juliet complete with swords, daggers and opulent costumes! Do thyself a favor and grace us with thy presence!

 

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The English-Speaking Union

Kansas City Branch

Kansas City Branch Landmark Photo