News And Events

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.  

1st Place National Winner: A scholarship to attend the British American Drama Academy Mid-Summer Conservatory Program which includes an intensive three-weeks of study, acting and Shakespeare Cultural studies at the University of Oxford, Oxfordshire, England.

2nd Place National Winner: A Scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA. 

3rd Place National Winner: Receives $1,000 cash.

The second annual People's Choice Award was won by Spencer Morvillo of the Monmouth County Branch, a student of Smita Ganatra at Glen Ridge High School received 487 votes.

Over 6,000 people voted for the People's Choice Award from around the world, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Ghana, and China, expanding the competition's community despite the pandemic.

The ESU Kansas City Branch announced its Branch winners on April 21, 2021:

·First Place winner is Aliyah Pullin from Olathe South High School. Lauren Hannon is the sponsoring teacher.

·Second Place winner is Sofia Hughes from Blue Valley High School. Maureen Davis is the sponsoring teacher.

·Third Place winner is Maggie Herber from Shawnee Mission South High School. Her sponsoring teacher is Mark Swezey.


This was the first virtual Competition for the ESU Kansas City Branch. First-place winner, Aliyah Pullin, impressed the judges with her performance of King Lear in a monologue from King Lear and her recitation of Sonnet 76.

Aliyah was also selected as one of the ten semi-finalists at the National Shakespeare Competition on April 26. This was a tremendous accomplishment to place in the top ten out of 39 competing students. We are all very proud of Aliyah and wish her the best in her future theatre arts career.

If you missed our Kansas City Shakespeare Competition on April 21, Click here to watch a recording of the entire program. You will not only see our seven student Competition contestants but also watch as our three judges talk about the students' performances. Their commentary should not be missed. They did a terrific job and we are forever grateful to have such scholarly and supportive judges working with the ESU. The judges are Sidonie Garrett, Melinda McCrary and Mark Robbins. You can read more about them in the program booklet below

Also, click here for an interactive program booklet from our April 21 Competition. Turn pages by clicking on corner of page or click on side arrows.

Two previous Kansas City winners have won First Place in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. One past Kansas City winner won Second Place in the National Competition. In 2017,  Trevon Wainwright from Paseo Academy, won Third Place in the National Finals. In addition, four Kansas City winners, including Aliyah have placed in the top ten finalists in the National Competition.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based education program in which high school students read, analyze, perform, and recite Shakespeare's works. 


Return to News & Events