News And Events

News And Events

500 Years of Looking for Richard III with Jeffrey Wilson and Thomas Varga

An Online Program You Will Not Want to Miss

 Monday, January 30, 2023 at 6:00 pm CT—Register Online Below

Disabled King of England, charismatic Shakespearean villain, star of the first play produced by an African-American theater company, Freudian case study, skeleton under a parking lot, inspiration for House of Cards, compared to Donald Trump in the New York Times—Richard III is reinvented for every new cultural moment.

While steeped in details of medieval English history, Shakespeare's Richard III and its configuration of disability, villainy, and tragedy still speak to us in the twenty-first century with a surprising urgency. How is Richard III always so historical and so current?

Jeffrey R. Wilson tells the story of Richard III's body traveling through time into Shakespeare's hands, on down to today. From Richard's own manuscripts, x-rays of sixteenth-century paintings, and Shakespeare's soliloquies to eighteenth-century editorial notes, nineteenth-century theatrical costumes, and twenty-first century disability theater, an interpretation of Richard's body is never just an interpretation of Richard's body. When we interpret Richard III, he interprets us in return. New Swan actor Thomas Varga will share speeches by Shakespeare's Richard III.

This is a free, online lecture program. While not part of ESU's Happy Hour Series, we wanted to share it with our ESU Kansas City members and Friends of ESU. This will be a fascinating look at Richard III as we have never seen before. Don't miss this program. Read more.

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Weird Moby-Dick with Hester Blum

Join Us For Our Next ESU Happy Hour

 Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 3:00 pm Central Time

Moby-Dick has a monumental reputation. Less well known are the novel's unexpectedly weird, funny, tantalizing, messy, and wondrous moments. Hester Blum will discuss her new Oxford edition of Melville's best-known novel, which is designed to be an edition for the 21st century: one that recognizes that each generation of readers will remake classic novels anew. Join us on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 3:00 pm CT.

ESU Happy Hour programs are online, free, and open to all members and the public. Registration is required. Please register here

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39th Annual Shakespeare Competition

ESU Invites all Kansas City Area High Schools to enter our 39th annual Shakespeare Competition

2023 marks the 39th year for The English-Speaking Union's Shakespeare Competition in Kansas City. Registration is underway for all Kansas City Metro High Schools and Home School Programs to enter the Shakespeare Competition. The deadline to register your school is January 27, 2023.

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The Secret Garden Book Club Film

ESU Kansas City Branch Co-Hosts a Book Club and Special Film Screening of the Classic 1911 English Children's Novel "The Secret Garden"

The Music Theater Heritage (MTH) at Crown Center is presenting the musical adaptation of The Secret Garden, a classic in children's English literature. MTH, The English-Speaking Union, Kansas City Branch (ESU), and the International Relations Council are co-hosts and invite all ESU members and Friends of ESU you to be part of MTH's new Book Club. Meet and Greet with other book and musical theater enthusiasts and join in discussions about this delightful 1911 novel. Each discussion will include a guest speaker from the Kansas City Public Library. The Book Club will meet in-person on Mondays beginning March 13, 20, and 27th at 6:00 pm at the Music Theater Heritage, upper level of Crown Center Shops, 2450 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, MO.

Each of the three Book Club dates will focus on specific chapters in the book. Kate Stoverman with the Kansas City Public Library will be the moderator for the Book Club. ESU will be part of a discussion panel during each of the Book Club dates. If any ESU members would like to be part of the panel discussion during the Book Club dates, please contact Jeff Schnabel at (816) 878-1239. Even if you are not on the discussion panel, ESU members and guests are welcome to attend the Book Club discussion groups. The Book Club events are free, but registration is required. Read more.

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King Charles' Coronation Tea Party

The English-Speaking Union, Kansas City Branch, Celebrates King Charles' Coronation

 SATURDAY, MAY 6, 2023, 2:30 PM
(10:30 AM SOLD OUT)

All ESU Members and Friends of ESU are cordially invited to attend a special English Afternoon Tea celebrating King Charles' Coronation. The celebration will be held on May 6, 2023—the same day as the King's official Coronation at London's Westminster Abbey, a place that has been the location of coronations for the past 900 years. 

The Royal Family announced, "The Ceremony will see His Majesty King Charles III crowned alongside Camilla, The Queen Consort." The last British Coronation occurred 70 years ago when King Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth II, was crowned in 1953.

Our Afternoon Tea celebrating King Charles' Coronation will be held at Anna Marie's Teas in Liberty, MO., in a stately 3-story, 5,000 square foot home built in 1913. 

The tea will include a variety of tea sandwiches, sweets, Brenda's signature scones, mock Devonshire cream, fine fruit butter or fruit jams and premium tea.  Our tea will include a special champagne toast to HRH King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort. We will again have our popular Trivia Quiz as well as some special door prizes. 

Brenda Hedrick, the owner and proprietress of Anna Marie's Teas, proudly proclaims, "This is not just any tea party--our tea experiences are delightfully extravagant!"

When: Saturday, May 6, 2023, 2:30 pm (10:30 am sold out)

Where:  343 W. Liberty Dr., Liberty, MO. Directions and parking: Click here        

Tickets: $33 per person. This price is all-inclusive, including taxes and gratuities. Read more.

Reservations and Tickets

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Port Wines with Phil Williams

Join Us for the Next ESU Happy Hour


Take a journey with Phil Williams and share a life-long fascination with Port wines, the nectar of the gods, and some of the grand stories which make it taste all the more wonderful. Don't miss this fun and interesting Happy Hour. Happy Hour programs are online, free, and open to all members and the public. 

"Be sometimes to your country true
Have once the public good in view
Bravely despise Champagne at Court
And choose to dine at home with Port."
Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) 

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Happy Hour: Royal Collection Trust Victoria & Albert

Join Our Next ESU Happy Hour

Wednesday, October 19, 2022, 3:00 PM Central Time

Join our next Happy Hour to hear Carly Collier, curator and independent art historian, as she explores Victoria and Albert's shared love for the arts. Using examples drawn from the Royal Collection, she will provide a broad overview of their collecting across a variety of disciplines – from works on paper to paintings, architecture and sculpture, decorative arts, and the new and exciting technology of photography. ESU Happy Hours are free online programs for members and guests. Please register. Read more.

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Global Motivations: United Kingdom

ESU Members and Guests are Invited to an Online Lecture Program Hosted by the International Relations Council

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The global rebalance of power continues. The ambitions, alliances, and actions of world powers have accelerated shifts in the international order that was framed in the waning days of the Second World War. What interests countries on the world stage today, what outcomes do they seek, and what role do cooperation and competition play?

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ESU Gala Watch Party

ESU Kansas City Members and Guests Are Cordially Invited

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After two postponements due to the pandemic, the ESU Headquarters is celebrating its long-anticipated Centennial Gala. This will be a special event held in New York City with Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal in attendance. The ESU invites all members and their guests across the U.S. to participate virtually in the celebration on Monday, October 3, 2022.

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The ESU Remembers Queen Elizabeth

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It is with admiration and profound respect that we pay tribute to the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty served as Patron of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth since granting it a formal Royal Charter in 1957. She served alongside her husband the late Prince Philip who was President of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth from 1952 to 2011. The Princess Royal, Princess Anne has since taken the mantle as President of the English-Speaking Union of the Commonwealth.

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