News And Events


With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Rutvik Ashtikar from Edison, NJ, a student of Darlene Rich at JP Stevens High School in Edison, won a place as one of the 10 finalists in the 34th annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition in New York City. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the stage of the Mitzi Newhouse Theater with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Rutvik previously won the ESU Princeton Branch competition.

The winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi Egonu, representing the San Francisco Branch, received a full scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA, this summer.  Second place winner, Brandon Burk, from the Kentucky Branch, won a cash prize of $1,000 from The English-Speaking Union, while the third place winner, Trevon Wainwright, representing the Kansas City Branch of the ESU, received an award of $500 provided by The Shakespeare Society.

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Summary of 2016-17 Programs

We are providing a summary of the Programs to be held during this next season. Please scroll down for further details regarding the speakers and their talks:

Sunday, September 25, 2016 - Our three scholars will speak on their experiences at The Globe Theatre and Edinburgh University;

Sunday, October 16, 2016 - Professor David Venturo of TCNJ will trace the early musical influences on the Beatles - the Fab Four;

Sunday, November 13, 2016 - Anne Waldron Neumann will examine what it is about Jane Austen that fascinates devoted readers and scholars alike;

Monday, January 2, 2017 -  Annual New Year's Party for members only

Sunday, January 15, 2017 - Professor B.J. Rahn, an expert on British crime fiction will explain how Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories help us to understand crime and detection in the Victorian era;

Sunday, February 26, 2017 - Annual Shakespeare Competition for High School Students;

Sunday, March 26, 2017 - Peter Ham will speak on Politics in the Garden. Who knew that the casual gardening style was once a political statement;

Sunday, April 30, 2017 - Architectural historian Joan Berkey will speak on the England and New England influences in the Colonial Architecture of Southern New Jersey

Sunday, May 21, 2017 - John Burkhalter and Sheldon Eldridge play Unheard Music and discuss related 18th Century Literature;

June 2017 - To be determined. British Film and Puddings Night Under the Stars.


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The Branch Scholars speak about their experiences this summer in the UK!

On Sunday, September 25, 2016 at 3.00 p.m. in the Kirby Arts Center of the Lawrenceville School our three British University Summer School Scholars will speak about their experiences in the United Kingdom this summer.

Matthew Campbell of Lawrenceville School went to the Globe Theatre in London, Cheryl Chambliss from Allentown High School, NJ studied Modernism or Contemporary Literature at Edinburgh University and Margaret McDonald from Holmdel High School in NJ studied Contemporary Literature Theater and Performance also at Edinburgh University. In the past the teacher's experiences have been fascinating and we realize how life changing these Scholarships are for them. The ESU is the ONLY organization in the US who offers such Scholarships!


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Becoming the Beatles

Announcement Photo

Professor David Venturo

On Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 3.00 p.m. in the Kirby Arts Center at the Lawrenceville School, Professor David Venturo will trace the early musical influences on the Fab Four. Professor Venturo is a Professor of English at the College of New Jersey and holds a Ph.D from Harvard University. He writes and teaches about British Literature from 1600 - 1850, baseball and American culture and the Beatles and pop culture. When asked why he teaches the popular "The Beatles and their World" course at the College level, Professor Venturo stated that the Beatles offer a window into the 1960's, the most dynamic, complicated and controversial decade of the last century. 


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Jane Austen: Miracle of Means and Ends

On Sunday, November 13, 2016, at 3.00 p.m. at the Kirby Arts Center at the Lawrenceville School, Professor Anne Waldron Neumann will examine "Pride and Prejudice" for clues as to why Jane Austen fascinates devoted readers and scholars alike. Professor Neumann writes both fiction and non-fiction and has a Ph.D from Johns Hopkins. She has taught English at Johns Hopkins, Ohio State University and Melbourne University in Australia where she lived for 7 years. Selected works include "Should You Read Shakespeare?", "Literature, Pop Culture and Morality" as well as "Reading and Writing with Jane Austen" - a handbook for fiction writers and "Jane Austen: Writing Teacher". Professor Neumann currently lives in Princeton where she teaches creative writing and to add to her considerable talents she is a practiced storyteller.


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The English-Speaking Union

Princeton Branch

Princeton Branch Landmark Photo

Welcome to the ESU

The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.

To find out more about our programs click here.