News And Events

News And Events

ESU Happy Hour

January 19, 2022 at 3:00 PM Central Time

ESU welcomes members and friends of ESU to another Happy Hour on Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 3:00 pm Central Time. This is a free program, but registration is required.

It is often inferred that John Singer Sargent moved to London because of the scandal over his portrait, Madame X, 1883-4, and there could be some truth to that. He knew that the time was ripe to develop the English market. He couldn't do it by copying British masters, rather he would build a clientele that embraced a distinctly modern, almost flamboyant style of portraiture. That Sargent made a success of his style in Britain passed from history into Legend. Read more.

Register Here

Read Full Story


Join Us for Our Annual New Year's Brunch Program

Regretfully, our New Year's Brunch has been postponed due to concerns over COVID-19. We will reschedule for a new date very soon. We're very sorry for the inconvenience.

Watch for the new date.

Join us on February 5, 2022, at 12:00 pm for a delightful ESU New Year's Brunch and Annual Meeting as we celebrate many anniversaries. 2022 will mark the first time we have been together in-person as an ESU family since the pandemic changed our world in March 2020. This is a time to celebrate with care as we continue  to bring important, meaningful, and fun ESU programs and events back in-person for our ESU members and Friends of ESU.

To launch our first in-person lecture program in almost two years, we are delighted that our own ESU member, Felicia Londré, Ph.D, author of 14 books, Curators' Distinguished Professor Emerita of Theatre at UMKC, and lecturer around the globe, will give our keynote talk. Read More.

Register Online

Read Full Story

A Visitor’s Perspective on Cuba in Transition

Guest Speaker: ESU Kansas City Member Ben Martin

Presented in Partnership with The International Relations Council

Cuba sits a mere 90 miles off the U.S. coast, but few from the mainland have had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the nuances of Cuba's history, culture, and relationship with the U.S. Join Ben Martin, board member of IRC organizational member The English-Speaking Union, Kansas City Branch, as he reflects on observations and lessons he gleaned from his 2016 visit to this Caribbean nation in transition.


Explore this fascinating trip to Cuba through the eyes of Ben Martin on Tuesday, December 7 at 6:00 pm CST. This is a free program in partnership with the International Relations Council of Kansas City as part of their Global Experience Series of programs. Please register below. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to join the program on December 7.

Register Here


About Ben Martin

Ben Martin taught and directed speech and theatre in Missouri high schools for 34 years before retiring in the spring of 2010 from the Lee's Summit School District. He served many years on the Boards of Speech and Theatre Association of Missouri (President 1987), Missouri State Thespians and the national board of the Educational Theatre Association. Martin is an active advocate for arts education programs, and served as Executive Director for the Missouri Alliance for Arts Education until he re-retired in July, 2020. He continues as the State Advocacy Captain for Americans for the Arts. Ben is currently on the Board of Directors of the English-Speaking Union Kansas City Branch.

Read More.

Read Full Story

ESU ARNIC Thanksgiving

The ARNIC and English in Action community will share the warmth and spirit of the Thanksgiving season together. Students, alumni, teachers, tutors and all ESU members and Friends of ESU are invited to attend this free event.

Our Thanksgiving Celebration will be online on Thursday, November 18, 2021, at 4:00 pm CST. Join us for a joyous day of gratitude, warmth, and community.

This will be an interactive event with opportunities for you to connect with other members of the ARNIC and ESU community. It will feature speeches by students, alumni and teachers. This free event will be held using Zoom. Please register here:

Register Here

In preparation for the event, we want to hear from you. There are two ways that you can contribute your voice to our event:


Send us a recipe

Across the world, food is an important way to bring people together. We want to share some of the recipes from our community. We invite you to submit a recipe from your culture. We will organize all submitted recipes into a community cookbook, which we will share during the holidays. Share your recipe (or recipes!) here!

Express your gratitude

Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful or grateful for. We want to hear what you think! Let us know what you feel thankful about here. We will share a word cloud with everyone's answers during the event.

Read Full Story

Charles Dickens' London and The Spirit of Victorian Christmas

Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese

Join us for this special ESU Happy Hour event live from London, England. This is a program for the whole family. Bring the little ones with you and watch as Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese gives us a Dickens Christmas tour in London. The fun starts on Wednesday, December 8, 2021 at 3:00 pm CST.

It is said that writers need a muse to overcome their writer's block. Charles Dickens' muse did not have flowing hair or an ethereal countenance, but solemn churches, heart-warming pubs and dainty cottages: it was London. In this virtual tour, we will visit the sites where the ever-popular novelist lived, as well as the places he frequented in his tireless search for picturesque characters. Bring a warm blanket and a hot drink as we discover how 'the magic lantern', as Dickens called London, shone even brighter at this time of the year, and how the Christmas traditions we know today were shaped by the great Victorian writer. This is a free ESU Happy Hour program but registration is required. 

Register Here


About Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese

Dr. Annamaria Dall'Anese works as a Blue-badge guide of London, where she conducts private tours to show domestic and international clients both the most iconic landmarks and the hidden gems of the British capital. Prior to settling in Britain, she lived in over a dozen countries over four continents, where she had the opportunity to develop her passion for the arts and foreign languages. Besides sharing her knowledge of the history of London with her visitors, Annamaria is completing her second self-published book.

Read Full Story

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.

Register Here

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.

Read Full Story

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.

Read More 


Read Full Story

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

Read Full Story

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. 

Read Full Story

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

Read Full Story