News And Events

News And Events

Virtual Evelyn Wrench Speaker Program

As a "kickoff" event to the revitalization of the Evelyn Wrench Speaker Series, the English-Speaking Union has the honor of hosting Lord Charles Spencer as he discusses his new book, The White Ship. This is a free virtual program, but registration is required.

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Described as "Game of Thrones meets The Titanic," The White Ship has been a UK non-fiction bestseller in the London 'Times' for 3 months for its riveting storytelling of the disastrous shipwreck that claimed the life of King Henry I's only legitimate heir, William, and the subsequent challenges of Henry I's only legitimate daughter, Empress Matilda, as she struggled to claim the throne.


In this lecture, Charles Spencer will take the audience on a spectacular journey into the past, exploring the historical consequences of The White Ship's ruin. There will be an audience Q & A session to follow the lecture.


About Lord Charles Spencer

Charles Spencer was educated at Eton and obtained his MA in Modern History at Oxford University. He is a historian, journalist, and the author of eight non-fiction books, including three Sunday Times bestsellers-- Blenheim: Battle for Europe (2004) (shortlisted for History Book of the Year, National Book Awards), Killers Of The King: The Men Who Dared to Execute Charles I (2015), and The White Ship.


Spencer worked for NBC News as an on-air correspondent from 1986 to 1995, primarily for the Today show, but also for Sunday Today, NBC Nightly News, and NBC Super Channel.

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The Questionable Identity of William Shakespeare Lecture

 by: Dr. Felicia Londré

The question may be met with chagrin by traditionalists, but to some, the identity of William Shakespeare is not positively decided. Dr. Felicia Hardison Londré, Ph.D, presents a thought-provoking analysis on the Shakespeare authorship question

This free lecture program, titled "The Questionable Identity of William Shakespeare" will be held on Monday, October 25 at 4:00 pm on the UMKC campus.

Location: Bloch Executive Hall, 5110 Cherry St., Kansas City, MO. Main floor. Room 00213. Next door to the UMKC Student Union.

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ESU Happy Hour

Rusty Kanokogi and The History of Women's Olympic Judo

Rusty Kanokogi may not be a household name—yet—but in the world of competitive judo, she is one of the most renowned unsung heroes of the past hundred years.

Join us for this dynamic, online Happy Hour presentation on November 3, 2021, at 3:00 pm Central Time. Happy Hours are free but registration is required. Read More.

Register Here

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Annual Virtual Conference

Join Our ESU Annual Virtual Conference

Join us October 15th - 17th for our 2021 Annual Conference! This year we're celebrating "A Union for All Seasons: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future - Members and Programs in the Next Century." The Annual Conference is free to join, though a $50 donation is suggested.

We will be honoring the great people who have carried our organization through the century, with spotlights on such formative figures as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Margaret Thatcher, and Winston Churchill. We hope you'll join us!

Click here for the schedule of events each day and to register for the Conference. 

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An ESU KC Rep Group Night:

Ghost Light: A Haunted Night of Songs and Stories

Our next ESU Outdoor Group Night is Sunday, October 10, 2021, at 7:00 pm. This is quite different from our last KC Rep Group Night. It's a multi-media program described as a  hybrid concert and ghost story event that weaves together local storytellers and musicians who share frighteningly fun tales from KC's cultural crossroads that will leave you shaking with excitement! You won't want to miss Kansas City's favorite new Halloween tradition.

It will be outdoors, under the stars on the South Lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Your family and friends will be transported into the world of spirits, hauntings, and the great unknown. Music will be provided by Latinx rock'n'rollers Enrique Chi and Juan-Carlos Chaurand of KC's very own Latin Grammy-nominated band Making Movies as featured performers!

Just like the last KC Rep outdoor event—BYOC—Bring Your Own Chair, so please bring a blanket, beach towel, or lawn chairs with you. Concessions will be available for sale including a coffee bar, wine, and homemade cookies. Patrons are welcome to bring food and drink. Masks must be worn over the nose and mouth at all times unless you are seated and eating or drinking.

When: Sunday, October 10, 2021, at 7:00 pm

Where: South lawn of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

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

Tickets: $30 non-reserved seating. Click here to purchase tickets. for the October 10 performance.

Arrive: Please arrive about 60 minutes before play begins to get best seating. Look for me. I'll try to save an area for our group if we can.

Parking: Free street parking on either side of the Nelson-Atkins Museum. If you are a member of the Museum, you may park in the Museum's garage for free

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ESU Happy Hour

Learn About Appraising Antiques

Robin Sinclair: ESU Member and Professional Appraiser

Everyone has that piece we wonder about. Maybe it came from grandmother, maybe it was found at an estate sale, maybe it was found in the trash, but wherever it came from, there are three questions about it: What is it? How do you know?  What's it worth?  This ESU Happy Hour will answer those three questions about YOUR PIECE! 

Don't miss this special online ESU Happy Hour on Wednesday, September 29 at 5:00 pm Central Time. It's a free program but registration is required.

Register Here

As an antique appraiser with thirty years of experience,  Robin (Susan) Sinclair, Ph.D., will be looking at and evaluating pieces submitted by our members in photographs and written descriptions.  A veteran of many appraisal fairs, she has also appeared on Nashville Public Television numerous times. She will do a discussion of as many objects as possible within our time frame, so please submit your objects early!  (Please submit by the 20th of September.)  She will also show us what an appraisal is, what an appraisal is not, (very important), and how value is determined. Read More.

Submit Objects for Appraisal

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ESU Festival Group Night a Free Production of The Tempest

The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival had to cancel their summer production of The Tempest at Southmoreland Park this year because of Covid concerns. But the good news is Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has teamed up with the Conservatory Division of UMKC Theatre and will produce The Tempest live, on-stage at the Spencer Theatre on UMKC's campus. And, best of all, admission will be FREE, with donations gratefully accepted at the door.

ESU members and friends are invited to attend The Tempest. We have selected Friday, September 24 at 7:30 pm to attend as an ESU Festival Group Night. However, we may not be able to sit together as a group due to social distancing.

Spencer Theatre Safety Requirements:

Audience seating will be socially distanced and audience members must be masked throughout the performance.

Tickets are free but registration is required so audience size can be managed.

To register for your ticket(s) click here then select September 24, then click on "Tickets" then "Register" with your name and email address. Your free ticket(s) will be emailed to you. After registering, please call or email Jeff Schnabel so we have a list of those attending and we can look for you when you arrive. (816) 878-1239, email: Read more.

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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.

Register Here

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