News And Events

News And Events

40th Anniversary ESU National Shakespeare Competition Winners

Congratulations to the Kentucky Branch's own Sarai Aboagye, who was a top 10 finalist at the 40th Anniversary ESU National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center in New York City on April 24, 2023. Sarai, a student of Claire LaNicca of Campbell County High School, was one of forty-one semi-finalists who came from all over the country, along with parents, branch coordinators, teachers and supporters for this exciting weekend-long event.

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Celebrating 100 years of The English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch

The Kentucky Branch of the English-Speaking Union will proudly celebrate 100 years of education outreach and scholarship on June 4, 2023 from 2-5 pm at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. Please make plans to join us as we celebrate the people, places and memories from our last century.  The event will include a complimentary tour of the Speed Art Museum, and a champagne toast to name a few highlights of the day.

Please see the invitation below for more details and be sure to register today to attend this momentous celebration.

Register here!

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2023 State Shakespeare Competition

On Saturday, February 25, 2023 the Kentucky Branch of the ESU held the annual state Shakespeare Competition at Presentation Academy in Louisville, KY. 

 The 11 competitors began the day with an acting workshop presented by ESU-KY Shakespeare Coordinator and theatre director Georgette Kleier. 

The competition featured students from around the state. The judges were Matt Wallace, Producing Artistic Director of Kentucky Shakespeare,

Dr. John Gatton, Professor Emeritus of English, Bellarmine University, and Paula Lockhart, Associate Director, KY Governor's School for the Arts. 

The 2023 ESU-KY Shakespeare Competition winners were: 1st place – Sarai Aboagye from Campbell County high school; 2nd place – Atticus Haden from Youth Performing Arts School; 3rd place – Cara LaCoe from Mercy Academy. The first place winner will move on to compete in the national competition to be held in person in New York City in April.

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1st place winner Sarai Aboagye from Campbell County high school

2nd place winner Atticus Haden from Youth Performing Arts School

3rd place winner Cara LaCoe from Mercy Academy

Additional images of the days activities and all of our contestants performances, can be viewed in our photo gallery. Photo credit: Sarah Herron Photography

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Deck the Halls - 2022 Christmas Party

A wonderful time was had by the ESU Kentucky Branch members, Board of Directors and incoming scholars for 2023 at the 2022 Christmas Party.

Our "Deck the Halls" party was held at Big Spring Country Club on December 7, 2022.  After being welcomed by our President, Kate Nitzken, a performance of heavenly holiday music was shared by the Bellarmine University Schola Cantorum, directed by Dr. S. Timothy Glasscock.  Our latest class of scholars was presented by Dr. Ted Scharre.  They are: Cana Hibpshman, Teacher at Anderson County High School, The Globe; Ashley Albrinck, Student from Thomas More University, Oxford University; Abigail Stanger, Student from the University of Louisville, Oxford University.  An ornament exchange made the event festive and personal.

Thanks to all of the people who worked tirelessly to make this such a wonderful event. Photo credits: Sarah Herron Photography

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2022 Christmas ESU Kentucky Branch Christmas party

You are invited to Deck the Halls with us at our 2022 Christmas E-SU Kentucky Branch Christmas party!

PLEASE NOTE...SPACE IS LIMITED so seating will only be held with a PAID RSVP.

Register Here!

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2022 Annual Meeting and Scholar Presentation

On October 1, 2022, the English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch held its Annual Meeting and Scholar Presentation at the Audubon Country Club in Louisville, KY.

As guests of member Jason Heine, the meeting was attended by Scholars, the Board of Directors, branch members, and guests.

The live presenters were Rayleigh Deaton, Kayla Daley, Katie Weible, and Beth Ewing.  Elayne Harrington presented remotely from her additional studies in Ireland.  Also, teacher Rebecca Hibbard from Corbin, KY combined efforts with Katie Weible since they studied together at the Globe Theatre.

The presentations were engaging and enjoyable for all in attendance.

We invite you to view these presentations and enjoy experiencing these summer scholarships.

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2023 ESU National Shakespeare Competition


Kentucky High School Students Vie for Chance to Compete in the 40th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in New York City.

Across America, the branches of this over 100-year-old institution are sponsoring the 2023 English-Speaking Union (ESU) National Shakespeare Competition. The ESU Kentucky Branch will host their local competition on Saturday, February 25th, at Presentation Academy in Louisville, KY. We are anticipating a wonderful turnout since the state winner will compete in NYC. Each student will perform a Shakespearean monologue and recite a sonnet from a carefully curated selection.  Competitors will be judged on their understanding of the texts and on their ability to communicate that understanding to an audience.

Registration Is Easy!

Just follow these easy steps to offer this amazing opportunity to your high school students. Fill out school registration form available on the National ESU Website.

2023 ESU National Shakespeare Competition School Participation Form - The English-Speaking Union (

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 To mark the passing of Her Majesty the Queen, Episcopal congregations in Louisville in the Diocese of Kentucky will join together at Christ Church Cathedral to commemorate her life and service to the church.


The service will be held at 6 p.m. on Sunday, September 18, at the Cathedral located at 421 S. 2nd St.  In accordance with the plan put forth by the church of England for services commemorating Her Majesty, bells will be rung an hour before the service, and a Book of Condolences will be available for signing.


In her official capacity, Queen Elizabeth was the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, the mother church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, of which many American Episcopal churches belong.


Parking is available at the Louisville Surgery Center (444 S. 1st St.), which is directly behind the cathedral.  Additional parking is available on the street and in paid garages at the YMCA (555 S. 2nd St) and the Marriott (280 W. Jefferson St.).


All are welcome.

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In Memory of O. Grant Bruton

It is with the deepest sorrow and much love that we mourn the passing of our beloved ESU KY Branch board member and dear friend O. Grant Bruton, Esq. Our full hearts and loving thoughts go out to his wife Sylvia, their family, and the many people Grant has touched over the years. The English-Speaking Union Kentucky Branch will be forever grateful for all Grant has done for us over his lifetime of service.

A Message from Karen Karpowich, Executive Director of the ESU:

"With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of O. Grant Bruton, Esq. an active, longtime ESU Member. He was the true embodiment of the ESU spirit and its mission to expand minds, strengthen friendships, and unlock opportunities for English language learners across the world.

Grant's involvement with the ESU stretches back to 1948; on an ESU scholarship, he attended Christ's Hospital School in the UK as the first-ever ESU Scholar from the ESU Kentucky Branch. After his exchange, he continued his involvement with the ESU; he served as Branch President twice, as the Chair of and Member of the Branch Scholarship Committee, and as an Executive Member of the Board of Directors for many years. 

Whilst enjoying a career as an appellate lawyer to the US Supreme Court and as a Special Justice on the Supreme Court of Kentucky, Grant still found time to study with and mentor other scholars and ESU Members. He enjoyed studying Shakespeare and history at Cambridge during his regular travels to England with his wife, Sylvia.

At the ESU Kentucky Branch's Queen's Tea Party held on June 5, 2022, Grant was recognized as the first-ever Kentucky Branch Scholar Champion. ESU Chairman Dr. E. Quinn Peeper attended the event and was able to present the award to Grant in person."


If you wish to give a gift in lieu of flowers, please write all checks to the following address:

ESU Kentucky Branch
Attn: Kate Nitzken
9907 Winged Foot Drive
Louisville, KY 40223

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Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (Mad Hatter) Tea and Board of Director's Dinner

2022 Board of Director's dinner at Mesh restaurant in Louisville, KY to welcome our special guest, Dr. E. Quinn Peeper, Chairman of the National Board of Directors. 

View More Photos Here!

(All images provide by Sarah Herron Photography)

View More Photos Here!

The Kentucky Branch celebrated the 2022 Queen's Platinum Jubilee Birthday Tea, the first time it has been held since 2019. The beautiful event was celebrated at historic Oxmoor Woods Farm, tracing 230 to five generations of the Bullitt family. The family was influential in the formation of Kentucky and houses the largest library inside a private home in Kentucky. Our branch members and guests were welcomed by Bullitt family heir and long-time E-SU member, Mr. Lowry Watkin's Jr. 

This year at the tea, the Branch celebrated the 2022 class of scholars attending TLab programs at Oxford, Edinburgh, and Shakespeare's New Globe Theater. The scholars included Kayla Daley an English Teacher from Assumption High School, Rayleigh Deaton a junior at the University of Kentucky, Beth Ewing a Social Studies Teacher from Owensboro Kentucky, Elayne Harrington, a student at the University of Louisville, Katie Blackerby Weible, a Theater Teacher at Dupont Manual/YPAS High School, and Rebecca Liford-Hibbard an ELA and Theater/Director Teacher at Corbin High School. Scholarships and travel stipends were awarded. 

A special award issued by Executive Director Karen Karpowich, with the designation of Kentucky Branch Scholar Champion, was awarded to O. Grant Bruton, Esq., Kentucky's first E-SU scholar to study at Christ's Hospital in 1948.  This first time award was presented by special guest, Dr. E. Quinn Peeper, Chairman of the National Board of Directors. 

A lovely luncheon was served and the board of directors, members, and guests toured the home while enjoying numerous activities including a piano performance by Dr. Peeper, a Shakespeare performance by Kentucky Branch Champion and National Shakespeare Competition Third Place Winner, Kathurre Miriti, presentation of the hounds from Long Run Woodford Hounds, the color guard presented by the Kentucky Society of Colonial Wars, and performances by the Sacred Heart Madrigals, Carolyn Cooke (bagpiper), and Jessica Hayden (harpist).  Special guests also included Dr. Karen Blair Brand, President of the Central Pennsylvania Branch.

Respectfully, Kate S. Nitzken, President

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