ESU Southwest Virginia Branch

A Message from the Southwest Virginia Branch President

Southwest Virginia Branch is nestled in the beautiful Roanoke Vallley. The evening meetings have brought together professional, business, and cultural personalites from many fields.

The Branch is known for its friendship and stimulating programs.

Social, community, and youth programs mark our outreach.

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News And Events


With a performance of a sonnet and monologue from Shakespeare, Ryan Smith  from Roanoke, VA, a student of Steve Rittenhouse at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke, placed as a semi-finalist 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 at Lincoln Center with 54 semi-finalists from as many ESU Branch competitions nationwide. Ryan previously won the ESU Southwest Virginia 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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2016/2017 Programs

Unless otherwise noted, programs are held at The Shenandoah Club,
24 Franklin Road, Roanoke, VA
Cocktails at 6:00pm     Dinner at 6:45pm
Business Attire unless otherwise noted.
Guests are welcome if sponsored by a member.
Guest cost for dinner is $25 per person
with the exception of the September Garden Party,
as noted below.

Sunday, September 18, 2016, 4:00pm to 6:00pm - Garden Party at the VWCC Community Arboretum. Fee for members is $15 per person, $25 per couple; guests are free. Members are encouraged to bring as many guests as they like. Informal attire.

ThursdayNovember 10, 2016 – The Reverend Wesley Smith. Topic : 'The Role of the Clergy in the Return of the Remains of Military Personnel to the United States of America.'                                                                         Lottery Seating*

Sunday, December 11, 2016, 12:30pm to 2:30pm - Holiday Luncheon. Holiday attire suggested.

Thursday, January 26, 2017 – Mr. Fred Campbell. Topic: "The Love Sonnets of Donne."

February 11, 2017 – Our local branch Shakespeare competition will be held at 10:00 AM at Virginia Western Community College. For more information, please check our website:

Thursday, March 23, 2017 – Rachel Oestreicher Berheim, President of The Raoul Wallenberg Foundation. Topic:  " Raoul Wallenberg: A Hero for Our Time."

Annual Meeting. At 5:40pn, before the cocktail hour, There will be a short meeting to present the slate for new officers, to take nominations from the floor and discussion. Voting by ESU members will be done on the internet.


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The English-Speaking Union

Southwest Virginia Branch

Southwest Virginia 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.