The English-Speaking Union Celebrates Shakespeare’s 450th Birthday

The English-Speaking Union is kicking off an exciting series of programs in honor of William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday this month.
By: The English-Speaking Union of the United States
NEW YORK - April 22, 2014 - PRLog -- The highlight of the ESU’s Shakespeare celebration is the 31st English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, which will be held at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City on May 5.  In this year-long educational program, 16,000 high school students nationwide read, analyze, perform and recite Shakespearean monologues and sonnets to develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature.  In three progressive competition levels, students present the Bard’s works in their own schools, at ESU Branch sponsored community competitions and at the National Shakespeare Competition.  Since 1983, the program has given more than 250,000 young people of all backgrounds the opportunity to bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and learn to express his words with understanding, feeling and clarity.  The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition is open to the public.

The celebrations begin on April 22, the day before the Bard’s birthday, with the launch of the ESU’s 2014 partnership with World Book Night US, a non-profit campaign to give printed books to light or non-readers.   In a gala reception at the New York Public Library celebrating World Book Night, the 2013 ESU National Shakespeare Competition winner and New York City high school student, Xavier Pacheco, will recite sonnet 29, in the company of such luminaries as Garrison Keillor, Malcolm Gladwell and Walter Dean Myers.

On April 23in New York, conversation partners in the ESU’s English in Action program, including newcomers to the country and volunteers, will exchange special World Book Night editions of classic American novels which they are encouraged to read together.

Also on April 23 in the evening, the English-Speaking Union will host an event entitled “Will, Wine, Women & Song” in honor of Shakespeare as part of law firm Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis’ Women’s Initiative.  It will feature a dramatic monologue presentation by Tiffany Ames, the 2012 winner of the National Shakespeare Competition, now a freshman at Oberlin College.

Finally, this summer, the ESU will again partner with the Folger Shakespeare Library in a series of Shakespeare Teacher Intensives.  ESU Branches around the country will offer middle and high school teachers professional development workshops including readings, analysis and dramatic interpretations of Romeo and Juliet.

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.  The ESU carries out its work through a network of 70 Branches and affiliates in the United Kingdom and 60 other countries, sponsoring a variety of language and international education programs.  To join The English-Speaking Union, visit or call 212-818-1200.

Christopher Broadwell

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