Blue Valley High Junior Wins First Place in ESU Kansas City's 35th Annual Shakespeare Competition

ESU National Semi-Finals and Finals to be Held in New York City at Lincoln Center April 29, 2019
By: English-Speaking Union
1 2 3
Matthew Grigoratos, 1st Place Winner, 2019 Shakespeare Competition, KC Branch
Matthew Grigoratos, 1st Place Winner, 2019 Shakespeare Competition, KC Branch
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Feb. 28, 2019 - PRLog -- Matthew Grigoratos, student of Maureen Davis from Blue Valley High School, Overland Park, Kansas, achieved first place at the English-Speaking Union  Shakespeare Competition Kansas City Branch tournament on February 24, 2019.

Matthew will travel to New York City along with more than 50 other contestants from around the country to participate in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center Theater in New York on April 29, 2019.

Ashley Schwach from Paola High School, Paola, Kansas, earned second place, Aliyah Pullin from Olathe South High School in Olathe, Kansas, was awarded third place in the Kansas City Branch competition.

Each student performed a Shakespearean monologue of their choice and recited a sonnet. Competitors were judged on their understanding of their selected texts and on their ability to communicate their interpretation to the audience. Judges for the Branch Competition included Sidonie Garrett, Melinda McCrary and Mark Robbins.

The English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based education program in which high school students nationwide read, analyze, perform, and recite Shakespeare's works. Through the program, students develop communication skills and an appreciation of the power of language and literature. In the Competition's three progressive levels, students perform in their own schools, at ESU Branch community competitions, and at the National Shakespeare Competition at Lincoln Center Theater in New York City. Since 1983, more than 400,000 young Americans of all backgrounds have taken advantage of this opportunity to bring the timeless works of Shakespeare to life and learn to express his words with understanding, feeling, and clarity.

Matthew Grigoratos, as the First Place winner of the ESU Kansas City Branch competition will travel to New York City to represent the Branch in the ESU National Shakespeare Competition at the world-renowned Lincoln Center Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater on April 29, competing with more than 50 other winners from Branch competitions nationwide.

On stage, each will perform a monologue and sonnet before a panel of distinguished judges as well as their fellow contestants. Based on their performances, seven to ten students will advance to a final round. Those finalists, performing their selections along with a cold reading of a monologue, compete for the First Place National award which includes a full three-week scholarship to the British American Drama Academy Midsummer Conservatory Program in Oxford, England. The Second Place National Winner receives a full three-week scholarship to the American Shakespeare Center Summer Theatre Camp in Staunton, Virginia and the Third Place National Winner receives $500.00. For additional information regarding the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition, please visit

Deborah McArdle, ESU Kansas City Branch's Vice President and Shakespeare Competition Coordinator, commented, "We are proud to have provided this competition for 35 years for students in the greater Kansas City area. Each year, we see the students display an impressive understanding of the works of William Shakespeare. We thank our expert judges; additionally, we thank our committed teachers who give most generously of time and talent."

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 First Place winner in 2017, Trevon Wainwright from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts, went on to compete in the ESU National Finals and won Third Place in the National Finals.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition has been recognized by the Globe Center (USA), the Children's Theatre Foundation of America and the American Academy of Achievement. Many distinguished judges have served on the Competition panels. It is the only national Shakespeare competition in the U.S. and the only such program exclusively for high school students.

The National Shakespeare Competition is a program of the English-Speaking Union of the United States (ESU), a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization that employs English as a catalyst to foster global understanding and good will through educational programs for students, teachers, immigrants and lifelong learners. Founded in 1920, the ESU has a national footprint with 5,500 members in 66 branches across the US. The ESU National Shakespeare Competition develops high school students' communication skills and appreciation of the power of language, literature and the dramatic arts through performing Shakespeare at the school, community and national levels. We thank the Achelis Bodman Foundations, the Peter Malkin Foundation and all our individual donors for their generous support for the ESU National Shakespeare Competition. For additional information about the English-Speaking Union, please visit For details about the ESU Kansas City Branch or to become a member, please visit

Email:*** Email Verified
Tags:ESU, English-Speaking Union, Kansas City, Missouri
Industry:Arts, Education, Event, Non-profit
Location:Kansas City - Missouri - United States
Account Email Address Verified     Account Phone Number Verified     Disclaimer     Report Abuse

Like PRLog?
Click to Share