News And Events


With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Ogechi Egonu from San Francisco, CA, a student of Jennifer Grimes at San Domenico School in San Anselmo, won the 34th annual English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition took place on May 1, 2017 on the Mitzi Newhouse Theater stage at Lincoln Center in New York City with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Ogechi previously won the ESU San Francisco competition.

As the winner of the 34th English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, Ogechi received a full scholarship to 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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Jordan Ford, winner of the 2016 San Francisco Shakespeare Competition, reflects on his experience

Last year I had the chance to compete in the ESU San Francisco branch's Shakespeare competition, in which 30 schools from all over the Bay Area participated. Each school sent a representative to compete, and first place secured a fully paid trip to New York, in which the winner would then compete at Lincoln Center against winners from other branches from almost every other State. It was my (utterly unexpected but very joyous) privilege to go to New York via this opportunity and compete again at the national level. 


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2017 National Shakespeare Competition

We invite schools serving Grades 9-12 in our area to celebrate the Bard's 450th birthday this year by participating in the 2017 ESU National Shakespeare Competition. The Competition provides teachers with a free performance- based program for the study of English Language Arts and Shakespeare that meets state standards.. High school students from the local area recite Shakespeare's monologues and sonnets and compete for the chance to win a trip to New York City. Learn more on our ESU San Francisco Shakespeare Competition page. Click Here


English-Speaking Union - Graduate Scholars Association

The San Francisco Branch first offered scholarships in 1951, the first scholars coming from Australia and New Zealand (in alternate years) to study in the US, usually at University of California – Berkeley. A few years later it was decided to send Americans to Britain. Over the years most have studied at Oxford or Cambridge.  The name of the scholarship changed from time to time but the purpose was constant – to enable American graduates to study in the UK.  The work continues today under Bill Riley, our Graduate Scholarship Chair.


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Julia Arce, our 2015 BUSS Scholar, has sent us her B.U.S.S. Reflection 2015

Julia, who teaches English and theology at the Convent of the Sacred Heart High School in San Francisco studied at Exeter College, Oxford. She writes –

In Shakespeare's Henry V, King Henry gives one of the most memorable speeches in all of drama. Speaking to his fatigued and beleaguered armies on the Feast of St. Crispin as they prepare for what is now known historically as "The Battle of Agincourt " (1415), he names his wizened warriors who are about to shed blood, a "band of brothers." Miraculously, they go on to defeat the French that day. On July 20, 2015, the summer school students at Exeter College gathered in the chapel to mark this bittersweet event. We silently entered the intricate and quiet space, flanked by high stain-glass windows and dark-wooden pews, then sat down to await Richard Byrne, son of Austenite and Summer School Director, Dr. Sandie Byrne, lead us in a meditative marking of all lives lost, of courage shared, and of the brilliant and romantic words of the Bard. Shakespeare scholar and tutor, Dr. John O'Connor and his fabulous wife, Kelly, assisted in the readings, creating an atmosphere of simple solemnity and serendipity for all who listened.  


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The English-Speaking Union

San Francisco Branch

San Francisco 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.