The English-Speaking Union

Education Programs

National Shakespeare Competition

The ESU is proud to announce that the 2024 National Shakespeare Competition Finals will be held in NYC on:

       Monday, April 15 at the Mitzi Newhouse Theater                at Lincoln Center!!

Our exciting weekend of events in New York City will begin Saturday, April 13 and will include:

A welcome reception

Acting workshops for contestants

An NYC Bus Tour

A Broadway Show...

and more!

2024 Prizes are expected to be as follows (prizes are subject to change):

1st place: British American Drama Academy Mid-Summer Conservatory Program at Oxford

2nd place: American Shakespeare Center Theatre Camp in Staunton, VA

3rd place: $1000

Read more about the competition

 2024 NSC Important Dates/Deadlines: 

Deadline to hold participating school competitions and submit winner forms: February 23, 2024

Deadline to hold branch competitions and submit Branch Winner Forms: March 10, 2024



About the Competition

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is a performance-based educational program serving grades 9-12. Since 1983, the competition has engaged more than 400,000 young people. Approximately 2,500 teachers and 20,000 students in nearly 60 ESU Branch communities participate each year.

The ESU National Shakespeare Competition is aligned with modern educational practices. Participating students:

  • practice essential skills such as critical thinking, close reading and public speaking
  • work through all 6 levels of Bloom's taxonomy, from recall to creation, increasing self-confidence through reading, analysis and performance of Shakespeare
  • have multiple points of entry to explore universal themes and are challenged to decode for themselves the complex beauty of Shakespeare's language 
  • work with teachers and peers in a student-centered program of experiential and cross-curriculum learning
  • meet local, state and national standards in English Language Arts and Drama.

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. 

Please click on the appropriate link at left for our handbooks and learn more about the ESU National Shakespeare Competition. 


No branch? We can help!

The ESU is using technology to reach every high school, every teacher, and every student across the United States!

The ESU National Shakespeare competition is now open to all students, nationwide, regardless of location. Using readily available technology like cell phone cameras, schools without a participating local branch of the ESU can join the fun and be eligible to compete in a live finals round via video streaming. Winners of the E-Branch Finals will  compete in the national competition against all our branch competition winners.

Click here to learn more!