The English-Speaking Union

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Online Happy Hour Series

Welcome to ESU Happy Hour! The ESU has planned a series of programs to connect and reach out to our members through programs that are engaging, fun, and informative on a wide variety of topics. Happy Hour programs bring to you guest speakers live and free of charge.  Speakers may also suggest a unique cocktail for you to create and enjoy at home. These programs are designed so ESU members and guests can learn and interact with our outstanding speakers. Many speakers will provide exciting participation opportunities with fun give away books and products at the end of each program.

We invite members to suggest topics for future ESU Happy Hour Programs at this link. Cheers!

Watch Previously Recorded Programs

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 5:00 PM (EDT)

England before the Norman Conquest: History and Historical Vision. What do we know and how do we know it?

This is NOT a history lecture, but rather a brief introduction--through texts, images, and artifacts--to pre-Conquest English culture and to the self-understanding of those who created it.


Robert W. Hanning, Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University, has degrees from Oxford and Columbia Universities.  He taught at Columbia for forty-five years, and was visiting professor at Yale, Princeton, John Hopkins and NYU. Recipient of Guggenheim, ACLS, NEH, and Rockefeller Foundation fellowships, he has published two major translations and four books, most recently Boccaccio, Chaucer, and Stories for an Uncertain World (Oxford University Press, 2021).

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Wednesday, December 14, 2022 at 5 PM (EDT)
The English Pantomime With Jim Stebbings

For many people across the United Kingdom, a visit to the Pantomime or Panto is as essential a part of the Christmas season as Christmas Pudding, the Christmas Tree or the kiss under the mistletoe! Delighting both children and adults alike, productions of this traditional form of seasonal theatrical entertainment can be found across the land from small amateur productions in village halls, to professional theatres in all major towns and cities, as well as in London's West End. 

Jim has had a life-long interest in the theatre and performing, especially in the musical theatre, both as an amateur and semi-professional performer and as a producer and director.
After retirement from a professional career in financial management that took him to over thirty countries, he has been able to devote much of his leisure time to his theatrical, musical and entertainment interests. This has encompassed producing music festivals, directing and participating in various forms of musical and dramatic entertainment and studying the lives and work of the prominent musical theatre contributors to the 19th and 20th century musical theatre, and in particular Gilbert and Sullivan and the contributors to The Great American Songbook.

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