News And Events

News And Events

ESU KC Rep Group Night

Mary's Wedding

ESU's Outdoor Group Night events have been popular, and we have a very special ESU Group Night planned on Sunday, September 19 at 7:30 PM. You won't want to miss this production of Mary's Wedding produced by KC Rep Theatre. The play takes place during World War I in 1914, just four years before the ESU was founded.

On the night before her wedding, Mary dreams of a thunderstorm, during which she unexpectedly meets Charlie. With innocence and humor, the two discover a charming first love. But the year is 1914, and the world is collapsing into a brutal war. Together, they attempt to hide their love, galloping through the fields for a place and time where the battle can't find them. A play with a heart as big as the skies that serve as its stage, Mary's Wedding is an epic, unforgettable story of love, hope, and survival.

This outdoor production is on the south lawn near the entrance to the National World War I Museum and Memorial. This is a casual show. BYOC—Bring Your Own Chair (or blanket). 

Seating will begin 1 hour before the performance. The show runs approximately 90 minutes with no intermission.


When: Sunday, September 19, 7:30 pm

Where: South lawn of World War I Museum and Memorial

Bring: Your own chair or blanket, bring food, snacks, drink if you wish

Tickets: $30 non-reserved seating. Click here to purchase tickets.

Arrive: Please arrive about 60 minutes before play begins to get best seating. Look for Jeff or Ben and Roxanne. We'll try to save an area for our group if we can. Read More.

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ESU Happy Hour

Coming September 8, 2021
Queen Victoria and the Victorian Novel
Guest Speaker: Dr. Elliot Engel

Join us September 8, 2021, at 5:00 pm Central Time for a journey back to the 19th Century Victorian Era when Queen Victoria reigned over the United Kingdom for 63 years, seven months—longer than any previous British Monarch. Don't miss this special program and learn how fiction literature flourished during this Era. 

Register Here

This is a free Happy Hour, but registration is required.  

Not only did she reign during the only period when England was the most powerful nation on earth, but the novels published during Queen Victoria's rule were some of  the most beautiful fiction ever written. Dr. Elliot Engel first reveals the fascinating, highly unlikely circumstances which brought this 18-year-old princess to the throne, and then he illuminates the glory of the novels which blossomed forth throughout her near 64-year reign.

About Dr. Engel

Originally from Indianapolis, Indiana, Dr. Elliot Engel now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he has taught at the University of North Carolina, North Carolina State University, and Duke University. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow at UCLA. While at UCLA he won that university's Outstanding Teacher Award.

Dr. Engel has written ten books published in England, Japan, Turkey, and the United States. His mini-lecture series on Charles Dickens ran on PBS television stations around the country. His articles have appeared in numerous newspapers and national magazines including Newsweek. He has lectured throughout the United States and on all the continents including Antarctica. Four plays which he has written have been produced during the last ten years. In 2009, he was inducted into the Royal Society of Arts in England for his academic work and service in promoting Charles Dickens. Read more about Dr. Engel here.

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ESU Happy Hour

Our next ESU Happy Hour is Wednesday, August 18, 2021, at 3:00 pm Central Time. Don't miss this extraordinary storytelling adventure. This is a free program, but registration is required.

This presentation is about a little-known inspiring story of peace, brotherhood, and reconciliation. It is a story of the humanity, respect and brotherhood, Shiroishi villagers in northern Japan, extended to 34 American crewmen, who perished when three B-29 bombers crashed into Mt. Fubo on March 10, 1945, within minutes of each other, returning from the raid on Tokyo. Read more.

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ESU Happy Hour

Most of Frederic W. Schwartz, Jr.'s Seven Ages of membership in The English-Speaking Union,
with apologies to William Shakespeare

Join us for our next ESU Happy Hour on July 28, 2021 at 4:00 pm Central Time with Frederic W. Schwartz, Jr. This is a free program but registration is required. Click here to register.

Mr. Schwartz was invited in 1964 to join the Providence Branch of The English-Speaking Union after he returned from an idyllic summer at Balliol reading metaphysical poetry under the tutelage of a great-great-great cousin of William Wordsworth and drinking too much sherry. Read More

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Celebrating Centennial Stories: An evening of Storytelling

June 24, 2021, 4:00 PM CDT

Join us this Thursday, June 24th at 4 pm CDT in Celebrating Centennial Stories: An evening of Storytelling! This will be an exhilarating evening of stories, exploring how, since its founding 100 years ago, the English-Speaking Union has been enriching lives and changing futures. During this special event, we'll be unveiling our new virtual time capsule website, which compiles all submitted ESU stories to the 100 Years, 100 Stories Project. 

The 100 Years 100 Stories project presents a snapshot of the impact and achievements made by ESU's members, volunteers, students, tutors, and anyone ever touched by ESU's programming over the past 100 years. The event will feature an exclusive performance by the Oxford Philharmonic and spotlight the winners of the 'Outstanding Story' Award. We will also be joined by some very special guests, who will be speaking about their enriching relationship with the ESU. 

The ESU Kansas City Branch has submitted three video stories, two written stories, and Kansas City member, Ben Martin, also submitted a written story

The program is free and open to ESU members and the public. Optional donations are also welcome. Your gift will support the design and maintenance of the website and will help underwrite the storytelling competition prizes. Click here for a list of the donation levels and what you will receive for each level of donation. Immortalize your name in the ESU Centennial Virtual Time Capsule by making a donation today.

Be sure to register for this free exciting and historic program of storytelling today.

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ESU Happy Hour

Storied & Scandalous Kansas City—A History of Corruption, Mischief, and a Whole lot of Booze

Guest Speaker: Karla Deel

Friday, May 21 from 6:00-7:00 PM (EDT)

Our next Happy Hour guest speaker is author and publisher Karla Deel. Her book, "Storied & Scandalous Kansas City—A History of Corruption, Mischief and a Whole Lot of Booze," is an in-depth account of how Kansas City operated in its early days with mobsters, bootleggers, madams, political bosses, and raucous entertainers who truly brought the party to the plains even during Prohibition.

Join us for this free Happy Hour program on Friday, May 21, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT. Happy Hour programs are free but registration is required. Please register here:

Register Here 

When the ESU Kansas City Branch was founded in 1920, Kansas City was one notorious and scandal-ridden town. Karla will tell the storied history of Kansas City—the Paris of the Plains. You'll witness the best parades, the wackiest costumes, and the wildest scams. Kansas City's sordid underbelly is full of surprises sure to delight and entice—the odd, macabre, and delightful.

Don't miss this behind-the-scenes look at Kansas City in its early days. We will have a door prize drawing for her book, "Storied & Scandalous Kansas City." Read More.

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ESU Happy Hour

ESU Happy Hour:

Best-Selling Author: Joby Warrick

Red Line: A True Life Thriller

The true story of the most daring disarmament feat of modern times.


ESU's next Happy Hour features best-selling author and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Joby Warrick who has written the true story of the most daring disarmament feat of modern times. Join ESU members and Friends on Wednesday, May 12 at 3:00 pm for this fascinating ESU Happy Hour program. It's a free online program but registration is required.


Warrick's story is a  character-driven narrative with a cast of heroes and villains, including weapons hunters, politicians, doctors, diplomats, and spies. Drawing on astonishing original reporting, Warrick reveals how the United States embarked on a bold adventure to prevent one catastrophe but could not avoid a tragic chain of events that empowered America's enemies. Read more.

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ESU Happy Hour

Shake Up Shakespeare

Guest Speaker: Carol Ann Lloyd

Our next Happy Hour program features Carol Ann Lloyd—a speaker, educator and writer who shares English history and Shakespeare with a broad audience across the US and abroad. She takes a fresh look at Shakespeare's works and presents them in a way anyone can appreciate his literary talents. Join us on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 3:00 pm (CDT). It is a free program but registration is required.

For more than 400 years, Shakespeare and his plays have been part of our lives. From the playhouses of the sixteenth century to the American Wild West, and from formal theatres to high school festivals, Shakespeare's stories have resonated around the world. Shakespeare created worlds our of words that continue to inform and shape our language and our culture. Read More.

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Winners Announced for 2021 National Shakespeare Competition

Adapting to the ever-changing circumstances brought on by the global pandemic, the English-Speaking Union hosted the 38th annual National Shakespeare Competition virtually for the second time ever. We are proud to announce the winners of the year's competition held on April 26, 2021.


Delilah Delgado of the ESU San Diego Branch won 1st Place with her quick witted and thorough renditions of Phoebe from As Your Like It, and Sonnet 62. Her sponsoring teacher, Samantha Howard of the Bishop's School, will receive the $1000 Teacher Recognition Award. This is the second such award recipient since the award's founding last year.

Anna Sheehan of the ESU Boston Branch took 2nd Place. Her sponsoring teacher, Barbara Whitlock of Montrose School, will receive the $500 Teacher Recognition Award. 

Samuel Christian of the ESU Los Angeles Branch won 3rd place. His teacher, Elizabeth Dennehy of Los Angeles County High School for the Arts will receive the $250 Teacher Recognition Award. Read More.

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ESU Happy Hour

Chaucer: A European Life
Author Marion Turner
April 21, 2021, 3:00 PM CDT

In her talk, Marion will be discussing the extraordinary life of Geoffrey Chaucer, a man who lived through the worst pandemic humanity has ever seen and made his way in the world in a time of radical change.

A merchant's son, prisoner of war, diplomat, MP, and pioneering poet, Chaucer lived through rebellions, usurpation, and conflict. While past biographers have often focused on Chaucer's Englishness, he was, in fact, a great internationalist.

Marion will talk about his journeys all over the continent, his innovative use of European poetry, and his life in cosmopolitan fourteenth-century London, a place where spices from as far afield as Indonesia were on sale. This is the story of one of the most unusual and brilliant imaginations in literary history. This ESU Happy Hour is a free program but registration is required. Read More.

Register Here

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