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Grant number: EZ-50279-09

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EZ-50279-09

English-Speaking Union of the United States (Washington, DC 20037-8068)
Mark Olshaker (Project Director: 10/15/2008 to present)

Shakespeare Competition - Humanities Competition

The applicant has requested a Chairman's grant of $29,200 to support and expand the humanities content for the English-Speaking Union's (ESU) annual 2009 and 2010 Shakespeare Competition for the Nation's Capital area for high school students. Additionally, the grant would allow the ESU to launch an outreach effort to traditionally underserved student populations. The English-Speaking Union Shakespeare Competition requires performance of a speech or soliloquy and a sonnet by the Bard. To prepare, student read the entire play from which his or her choice is made and do research into Elizabethan times and the context of the play in its day. Preparation for the sonnet is a careful exercise in literary interpretation. Before students can perform, they have to understand. Unlike the Folger's annual Secondary School Shakespeare Festival, the ESU competition is keyed to individuals rather than acting groups, and stresses individual preparation and scholarship. The ESU Shakespeare Competition has succeeded in attracting students from predominantly minority school communities in and near the District of Columbia. But it now wants to do more through a new outreach program: a series of workshops with acknowledged experts in literature, language, and history; grant incentives to targeted schools; publicity materials; and an advisory board of scholars and teachers with experience in the competition. Several commitments have already been secured. The NEH Chairman's Grant of $29,200 will enable ESU to mount the Shakespeare Competition for two years, build on established success from year to year, track progress, and develop more permanent funding sources.

Project fields:
British Literature; Interdisciplinary Studies, General; Literature, General

Program:
Faculty Humanities Workshops

Division:
Education Programs

Total amounts:
$29,200 (approved)
$29,200 (awarded)

Grant period:
11/1/2008 – 6/30/2010