News And Events

News And Events

ESU Happy Hour Guest Speaker: Dr. James Muller

Join Our Next ESU Happy Hour
Guest Speaker: Dr. James Muller

Next Happy Hour: August 17, 4:00 PM Central Time

Winston Churchill's book, The River War, was published in 1899 when he was 26 years old. This history of the River War in Sudan vividly chronicles the military campaign that altered the destinies of England, Egypt, and the Arabian peoples in northeast Africa.  It was originally published in two volumes but in 1902 was shortened to fit into one volume. Political science professor James Muller produced the unabridged version after more than 30 years of meticulous work. It has been out of print in its unabridged version for more than 120 years. This is the first time in over a century that Churchill's story has been told and published in its entirety.

Professor Muller will tell the story of preparing the new edition and speak about the significance of the book for understanding Churchill's thoughts on empire, war, race and religion. Happy Hours are free online programs for ESU members and guests.

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ESU Festival Group Night

Romeo and Juliet 
Wednesday, June 29, 2022

It's been two years since the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has produced a play at Southmoreland Park. And even more special this year—this is their 30th anniversary season! This summer we are thrilled to watch a terrific cast perform Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet outdoors in the beautiful, moonlit park. So, after two years in waiting, ESU members and friends are invited to this special evening on Wednesday, June 29, 2022.


Romeo & Juliet's timeless appeal lies in its beautiful language and powerful affirmation of love over hate. This is a must-see production directed once again by Sidonie Garrett.

This will certainly be a spectacular production with lavish stage sets, colorful costuming and all our favorite actors and actresses including: Evan Cleaver as Romeo, Jess Andrews as Juliet, John Rensenhouse, Matt Rapport and Cinnamon Schultz just to name a few.

When: Wednesday, June 29, Curtain is 8:00 pm

Where: Southmoreland Park, just west of the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Seats: We will have reserved seats near the stage!

Tickets: We have arranged a group discount for our reserved seats at a price of $22.00 per seat. To purchase your tickets, simply phone the Festival's office at (816) 531-7728. Tell them you are ordering a reserved seat(s) for the "ESU Group" so you will get the $22.00 discount price. You can pay over the phone by credit card. When you arrive at the Park, just tell the staff at the entrance you are part of the ESU Group and have a reserved seat. 

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ESU Happy Hour

ESU Members Sharing…
Poems, Sonnets, Verses, & Prose

Wednesday, June 29th at 4:00 pm Central

Oh literature, oh the glorious Art, how it preys upon the marrow in our bones. It scoops the stuffing out of us and chucks us aside. Alas! –D.H. Lawrence

Join our next ESU Happy Hour as members share their favorite poems, sonnets, verses, or flash fiction*. We all have our favorite verses or memorable poems and members and guests from branches across the U.S. will share their favorites. 

Long-time ESU member, Dr. Susan Sinclair, will lead this special Happy Hour program, Wednesday, June 29, 2022 at 5:00 pm EDT. This is a free program for all ESU members and guests. Invite your friends to join us.

Please submit your favorite poem, verse, sonnet, or flash fiction*.

  • Limit of 500 words or less
  • You may choose from your favorite author, or you may compose your own piece.
  • You will be reading your submission at the Happy Hour, so, practice, practice, and practice.
  • Deadline for submissions: Tuesday, June 21
  • We will select as many submissions as time permits.
  • We will notify you by email on June 23rd if your submission is selected.
  • If you want to submit, click Submit.
  • If you just want to attend and watch the Happy Hour, click Register only. 


Submit Here! Register Here!

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ESU Lecture Program

Kansas City's French Heritage Salutes Molière

Mark your calendar for July 14, 2022, at 6:00 pm for a special lecture program featuring our own ESU member, Dr. Felicia Londré, as guest speaker. The program will include a buffet dinner before the lecture. This is a time to celebrate as we continue to bring important, meaningful, and fun ESU programs and events back in-person for our ESU members and Friends of ESU.

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.

Who knew the city of Kansas City, Missouri, was a French settlement founded 200 years ago in 1821 by a French fur trader, François Chouteau? It's true but more than that, our French connection ties in with a man who is considered France's Shakespeare—Molière. Molière is universally regarded as the world's greatest comedic playwright of all time. Molière's 400th birthday was January 15 this year and  Felicia will tell the story of Kansas City's French heritage and how the world is watching our multifaceted celebration of Molière's 400th birthday. This will be a unique, interesting, and informative storytelling that only Felicia can tell so well. This program will have some special surprises for you so this is a program you will not want to miss.

Be sure to save the date for  this special occasion held again at The Grand Street Café.  The buffet-style service will include your choice of three entrees, a selection of appetizers, salads, pastries/desserts, and your choice of coffee, iced or hot tea or soda (a cash bar for other beverages is optional). We will have some wonderful door prizes at the end of the program.

When: Thursday, July 14, 2022, 6:00 pm.

Where: Grand Street Café, 4740 Grand Avenue, Kansas City, MO.

Price: $45 per person all-inclusive including gratuity.

Reservations and Tickets

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Let's Have A Party To Celebrate Our New Membership Year

ESU's new membership year begins July 1, 2022 and what better way to bring in the new membership year than with a party!


All ESU members and Friends of ESU are cordially invited to a Membership Renewal Party hosted by our ESU members Sally and Greg Davis. This is a potluck party. ESU will bring  Barbeque Brisket and Ribs. Everyone is invited to bring a side dish such as baked beans, potato salad, tossed salad, or dessert such as fruit, cookies, pie, etc. ESU will also furnish beer, wine, iced tea, and soft drinks.


We want to bring all ESU members together for a casual afternoon party to make it easy and convenient to renew your membership and renew friendships. You can renew online at the party on a secure laptop or with a paper form…either way it's easy, fast and you'll have a chance to meet other ESU members including our newest members! If you are renewing with a paper form (which we will supply) just bring a check to include with the renewal form and we'll mail it for you. You'll see our membership dues are still the same as they have been for many years.


Door Prizes: We'll have drawings for some great door prizes!


When: Sunday, July 10, 2022, 2:00 to 4:00 pm


Where: Sally and Greg Davis' home: 12413 W. 101st St., Lenexa, KS 66215

Click here for more details.

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An ESU Tea Party Celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

All ESU Members and Friends of ESU are cordially invited to attend a special English Tea celebrating HRH Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee and 96th birthday. In 2022, Her Majesty The Queen, who has held the record for the longest reign since 2015, will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee after 70 years of service. This will be quite a special milestone and a celebration you will not want to miss.

This Platinum Jubilee Tea Party 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 house boasts Frank Lloyd Wright details--oak trim, 3 fireplaces and large open spaces. Its large wraparound porch and period American, French and English antique furnishings create the perfect setting for tea parties--served on a special collection of china and silver.

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 Queen Elizabeth II's 96th  birthday. 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, June 11, 2022 at 10:30 am

Where:  Bohnet House, 343 W. Liberty Dr., Liberty, MO.

Directions and parking: Click here

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

Reservations & Tickets

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ESU Happy Hour

Happy Hour Series: The Eccentric Billionaire
Guest Speaker: Nancy Kriplen

If you have watched programs on National Public Radio, you will recognize the names John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur. Their foundation provides the funding for many NPR programs.

John Donald MacArthur (1897-1978) was the country's second-richest man at the time of his death and became one of its great benefactors. He was hated, feared, and admired. Join this ESU Happy Hour on Wednesday, June 8 at 3:00 pm Centra Time to learn his fascinating story. It's a free program but registration is required. Read More.

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Added Membership Value for First-Time Members!

Even though our new membership year doesn't begin until July 1, 2022, there is an opportunity starting in the fourth quarter (April, May, June) for new members to take advantage of bonus months during their first year of membership. 


If a new member enrolls during the fourth quarter of the membership year, that is, during April, May or June, their membership will carry over into the new membership year. That means the new member gets one, two or three extra months in their first-year membership depending on which month in the fourth quarter they enrolled. Read More.


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Let’s Celebrate Molière’s 400th Birthday

SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2022, 2:00 to 4:30 PM

 Theatre! Dance! Music! Laughter! CAKE!

ESU members and Friends of ESU are cordially invited to a FREE 400th Birthday Celebration for the famous French playwright of the 17th century, Molière. There will be music and performance, participatory demonstrations, a Children's Corner, some special guests, and cake for all. This special celebration is free and open to the public. Sunday, May 1, 2022, 2 - 4:30 PM at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kirkwood Hall. This is a birthday party you will not want to miss! Bring the whole family! Read More.

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Winners Announced in 2022 National Shakespeare Competition and the People’s Choice Awards

Twelve finalists out of 43 ESU Branches were brought together virtually for the 39th annual National Shakespeare Competition, making it the third-ever virtual competition in the program's history.

People from across the country came together on Monday, April 25th on Zoom to watch as the 12 finalists performed for 5 judges. The virtual competition utilized various technologies across multiple platforms, including Zoom, Youtube, and text-to-vote, all of which enabled thousands of engagements, and hundreds of viewers from across the globe. Click here to read about the three National Competition winners and the three People's Choice Award winners.

Watch the Recorded Competition Here!

Sasha Fedderly of the ESU New York City Branch won 1st Place with her captivating and thoughtful renditions of Lady MacBeth from MacBeth and Sonnet 35. Sasha has won attendance at the BADA Midsummer Conservatory Program in Oxford, England this summer (Midsummer Conservatory Program – BADA).

Her teacher, Margaret George at Lycee Francais de New York High School will receive the $1000 Teacher Recognition Award. Read More.

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