Kansas City Branch
The Kansas City Branch of the English-Speaking Union will hold its 28th annual Shakespeare Competition on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at 2:00 PM at the Plaza Branch of the K.C. Public Library, 4801 Main St., Kansas City, MO. Over 175 students participated in preliminary competitions at 16 area high schools as well as a competition for homeschool students sponsored by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. These seventeen students will be competing for First Place in this annual event which is designed to develop students’ speaking and critical thinking skills and their appreciation of literature as they explore the beauty of the language and the timeless themes in Shakespeare’
The Competition is open to students in grades 9 through 12. Each student selects, memorizes, and presents a Shakespeare monologue and sonnet. All monologues are limited to 20 lines of verse or prose. By preparing a monologue and sonnet for public presentation, students bring Shakespeare to life in their own way and learn to express his works with understanding, clarity and feeling. The winner from each participating school competes at the ESU Branch level held on February 26, 2012.
The First Place winner of the ESU Kansas City Branch Competition receives $150 from the ESU KC Branch, a full scholarship to the Shakespeare Exploration Advanced Camp donated by the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, an all-expense-
The winner of the ESU National Shakespeare Competition receives a full tuition scholarship to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts' Young Actors Summer School in London (includes tuition, accommodation, food expenses and travel to and from London). The second place winner receives a full tuition scholarship to attend the American Shakespeare Centre's Theater Camp in Staunton, VA (includes tuition, accommodation, food expenses and travel to and from Stauton).
Two previous Kansas City winners have won First Place in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York and one Kansas City winner won Second Place in the National Competition. The ESU Kansas City Branch is one of 56 Branches competing in the National Shakespeare Competition in New York on April 23, 2012.
The following Kansas City area schools and students will be participating in the local ESU KC Branch Competition:
Bishop Ward High School
Blue Springs South High School
Center High School
Frontier School of Excellence
Heart of America Shakespeare Festival Homeschool Student Competition
Licking Reorganied School District R-VII, Texas Co.
Olathe South High School
Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts
Piper High School
Saint Teresa’s Academy
Saint Thomas Aquinas High School
Shawnee Mission North High School
Shawnee Mission Northwest High School
Shawnee Mission South High School
Spring Hill High School
Summit Christian Academy
Daniel Bukovac, ESU Kansas City Branch’s Director of the Shakespeare Competition, selected three highly qualified judges for the local Shakespeare Competition. All three are well-known and respected in Kansas City’s performing arts community. The Kansas City Competition judges:
Laurie is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, specializing in Renaissance and early modern literature, including Shakespeare. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California-Santa Barbara. Her research treats the myriad ways in which social hierarchies are represented and re-imagined in the literature of the English Renaissance, a highly volatile period that witnessed sweeping historical changes. Her book, Labor and Writing in Early Modern England, 1567-1667 (Ashgate Press, 2008), brings shifting discourses of class and occupation to bear on the emerging institution of professional authorship. Laurie is developing, in collaboration with Dr. Joan Dean, "The Shakespeare Institute," a continuing education course that focuses on the teaching of Shakespeare in secondary and post-secondary schools.
Sidonie is the Executive Artistic Director of the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival. Prior to joining the Festival, she worked as a freelance director. Her experience working with new plays took her to New York City, where she directed the off-off-Broadway production of Thanatos. For the Shakespeare Festival she has directed many plays, including The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, Merry Wives of Windsor, Othello, King Richard III, and Macbeth. This summer Sidonie will direct, with Assistant Director, Todd Lanker, both of the Festival’s productions - Anthony and Cleopatra and A Midsummer Night's Dream. Sidonie has also directed productions at The Coterie (including The Macbeth Project and the U.S. premiere of After Juliet), the American Heartland Theatre and The Unicorn Theatre, where she will direct Time Stands Still in March 2012.
John is a Kansas City-based actor who has performed major roles at many Shakespeare Festivals around the country, including Kansas City's Heart of America Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Alabama Shakespeare and the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. His notable roles for the Festival in Kansas City include Antony in the upcoming production of Antony and Cleopatra, Macbeth in Macbeth, Caesar in Julius Caesar and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. John has toured nationally with the Broadway productions of The Lion King and Noises Off and was once a regular on The Edge of Night. In February 2012, he directed the Kansas City Actors Theatre's production of Billy Bishop Goes to War. John is the President of Actor Theatre's board of directors.
The English-Speaking Union of the United States is a non-profit, non-political, educational organization whose mission is to celebrate English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, teachers and its members. Headquartered in New York City, the ESU implements programs through a network of 70 Branches across the United States. ESU members nationwide participate in cultural and social events and provide financial support to sustain our educational programs at the Branch and National levels. Members attend Branch events, host visiting speakers and scholars in their communities, volunteer to coordinate Branch participation in our National Shakespeare Competition and scholarship and exchange programs and serve as English in Action tutors. For more information on the ESU, go to www.esuus.org. For local Kansas City membership information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.