About Us & Activities

Event Archives


The Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts held its first annual "Arts on the Hill: Spring Arts Festival" on Friday, March 14, 2014.  The Festival is a celebration of the arts, featuring Paseo's talented artist-scholars, alumni, and honoring Paseo's arts/business partnerships of Kansas City. 

The ESU Kansas City Branch participated as one of the business partners with Paseo in its Spring Arts Festival with an information table providing handouts and membership details on the ESU to students, teachers, alumni and other business partners attending the event.  Students at the Festival helped celebrate William Shakespeare's 450th birthday in 2014 by sharing a large, decorated cake donated by the ESU Kansas City Branch.

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Added Membership Value for First-Time Members!

Our ESU membership year begins July 1 and ends June 30 (this is also our fiscal year for financial reporting purposes).  In June, you'll be receiving membership renewal notices for our next membership year that begins July 1, 2014.

Even though our current fiscal year is nearly over, it is still a good time to bring in new members.  If a new member enrolls during the fourth quarter of the fiscal year, that is, during April, May or June, their membership will carry over into the new fiscal year.  That means the new member gets one, two or three extra months in their first-year membership depending on what month in the fourth quarter they enrolled. This only applies to new members.

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Junior at Paseo Academy Wins First Place in Kansas City Shakespeare Competition. Next: New York City National Finals

The ESU Kansas City Branch held its 30th annual Shakespeare Competition on Sunday, February 16, 2014.  Thirteen students from the Kansas City metro area entered the Competition.  Makenna Lockhart, a Junior at Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts won First Place.  Her sponsoring teacher was David Luby, Director of Technical Theatre at Paseo Academy.  The Competition was held at The Coterie Theatre at Crown Center in Kansas City for the first time.

Over 165 students participated in preliminary competitions in Kansas City area high schools as well as a competition for homeschool students sponsored by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.  Makenna, left, impressed the judges and captivated the audience with her performance of Phoebe from Shakespeare's As You Like It and her recitation of Sonnet 24.  She will go on to represent ESU's Kansas Branch as a semi-finalist at the National Shakespeare Competition held at Lincoln Center in New York City on May 5, 2014.  The ESU Kansas City Branch is one of 58 Branches competing in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York.

Click here to see photos from the competition

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Kansas City Ballet production of Dracula

The Kansas City Ballet performed a unique, internationally acclaimed production of Dracula from February 21 to March 2, 2014.  Based on Bram Stoker's classic gothic horror story and performed by the world-class dancers of Kansas City Ballet, audiences were mesmerized as they ventured into the dark and eerie world of the infamous Count Dracula.

We wanted to bring this special KC Ballet production to the attention of ESU members since the classic tale was written by the Irish author and novelist Bram Stoker, the Choreographer of the ballet, Michael Pink, is British and the composer of the musical score, Phillip Feeney, is also British.  Not to mention that the events portrayed in the novel itself take place largely in England and Transylvania during 1893.

Rather than organize a specific group event to see the KC Ballet's production of Dracula, the KC ESU Branch suggested several alternate free events surrounding this production that may be of interest to ESU members.  After looking at all of these events, members decided which ones they would like to attend.  They were all excellent educational events tied in with Bram Stoker's gothic horror novel.

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ESU members and guests met on Sunday, January 12, 2014, for our Annual Holiday Brunch and Annual Meeting. The festive occasion was again held at the Grand Street Café.

This was a festive gathering where we reflected on a great year of ESU activities, indulged in a wonderful award-winning buffet and even celebrated with traditional British Crackers.

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ESU Members Invited to Sneak Preview Of Downton Abbey: Season 4

KCPT-TV, Kansas City's Public Broadcast Station, partnered with the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial in Kansas City to offer an exclusive sneak preview screening of the Emmy Award-winning series Downton Abbey on December 11, 2013.

Several ESU Kansas City members and their guests attended the preview showing of the first hour of the new season before it airs on January 5, 2014.  One ESU member, Mary Jane Short, won one of the three door prizes awarded by KCPT-TV.  Congratulations Mary Jane!  This was a free screening with a large attendance.  Everyone enjoyed the preview and is looking forward to the start of Season 4.

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ESU Goes to the Movies

ESU members were treated to a wonderful film starring Judy Dench and Steve Coogan with two showings on Dec. 8 and 9, 2013.  Philomena, directed by Steven Frears who also directed The Queen and Dangerous Liaisons, is the true story of one mother's search for her lost son. It is rated PG-13.

Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, PHILOMENA focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee (Dench) to find her missing son.  She is the mother to a boy conceived out of wedlock - something her Irish-Catholic community didn't have the highest opinion of - and given away for adoption in the United States.

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KU Professor of Modern British History Examines Margaret Thatcher’s Political Career

ESU members and guests attended a special lecture by the distinguished University of Kansas Professor of Modern British History, Dr. Victor Bailey on December 4, 2013.  His lecture topic concerned Margaret Thatcher's political career from her appointment as leader of the Conservative Party to her years as the first female and longest-serving Prime Minister of the 20th century.  It was a fascinating retrospective of one of the most remarkable and controversial Prime Ministers of all time.

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Ben Martin, Kansas City ESU Board Member, On Panel to Select Recipients of 2014 Missouri Arts Awards

The Missouri Arts Council selected the recipients of the 2014 Missouri Arts Awards.  Individuals, organizations, and communities are recognized in the six categories of Arts Education, Arts Organization, Creative Community, Individual Artist, Leadership in the Arts, and Philanthropy.

Ben Martin, above, a long-time member of the English-Speaking Union, Kansas City Branch, and a current ESU Board Member, was one of seven panelists who selected the recipients of the 2014 Missouri Arts Awards.  Ben is also the executive director of Missouri Alliance for Arts Education and the president of the Summit Theatre Group, a local community theatre organization based in Lee's Summit, MO.  Click here to read the announcement listing the six recipients of the 2014 Missouri Arts Awards.

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Martin Bell, Distinguished British Journalist, Politician & Author in Kansas City for Evelyn Wrench Lecture Series

The Kansas City Branch hosted Martin Bell, OBE, as part of the Evelyn Wrench Lecture series on Wednesday, November 6, 2013.  The lecture was co-sponsored by the Kansas City Public Library.  Mr. Bell, one of the best-known and most highly regarded names in British television journalism, presented a compelling lecture describing his life, his war experiences, the experience of being a British politician and his books.

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