2021 Events


The English-Speaking Union (Queensland Branch) invites all members, their guests and friends to a number of events throughout the year in pursuit of our organisational objective to promote understanding and communication in and about the English language and culture especially in Australia through education, social events and scholarship.

Come and enjoy good fellowship, discussion and an entertaining social evening. Events listed below should be added to your diaries.


Friday 5 March – Shakespeare’s Women.

Two Brisbane actors and former specialists in speech communication and theatre, Patsy McCarthy and Dr Jillian Clare, entertained over 40 guests at our first event of 2021 for a performance of ‘Shakespeare’s Queens’. Jillian and Patsy led us through a fascinating exploration of some of the many faces of love and passion in the works of Shakespeare. Working with a beautifully constructed script created by Jillian, the always polished and professional Patsy and Jillian performed examples of many twists and turns in cameo scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. A wonderful evening!


Friday 26 March “Political Language”

More than thirty members and guests dined at Miegunyah” Bowen Hills where they were entertained by Madonna King as she shared her experiences on the political landscape in Queensland and nationally. A thoroughly informative and entertaining evening.

Madonna is one of Australia’s most accomplished journalists, having won awards for her ABC mornings current affairs program. She writes across Fairfax, Crikey and the New Daily having had a career spanning newspaper, radio, TV and online in Canberra, Brisbane, Sydney and the United States. She is the author of ten books. She is the biographer of the Australian of the Year Professor Ian Frazer and former Treasurer Joe Hockey.









Friday 30 April – How to write a funny play

More than thirty members and guests were educated and entertained by Hugh O’Brien as he shared his secrets on creating plays that make audiences laugh. A thoroughly informative and entertaining evening.

Hugh is an Award-winning Queensland playwright and screenwriter. He is twice winner of both the Dogwood National Playwriting Initiative and the Noosa National One Act Playwriting Award for his comedy plays and most recently winner of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers National Playwriting Competition.

Short videos from Hugh’s talk are provided below.

CCCP – Compelling Character with a Compelling Problem
View the video https://youtu.be/SARmfmb8oCo

Deciding the Title
View the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4H7XFeaxjNo

Should you only write on personal experiences:
View video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vC9jv4kw19o

What’s the best way to do research?
View video https://youtu.be/6EnX-c2jepM


Friday 30 July – “Cool Britannia?”

Forty ESU members and their guests attended the United Service Club where Lorigan, President, French-Australian Chamber of Commerce (Queensland) gave a spirited address on the topic “Cool Britannia?”.








Saturday 23 October – High Tea

Almost 40 members and guests attended a High Tea at Miegunyah Women’s Historical Museum at Bowen Hills. During the afternoon, two 2021 ESU Public Speaking secondary school students presented their winning speeches. Junior Grand Final winner Portia Taggart from Cannon Hill Anglican College delivered her speech on the topic: “Kind words are short and easy to speak: Their echoes are truly endless (Mother Theresa) and Eli Gearing Intermediate winner from Centenary SHS delivered his speech on the topic Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep balance, you must keep moving (Albert Einstein).

It was the first time for many members to experience the talent and confidence our young generation demonstrate presenting to an audience.

Ms Elizabeth Long (Speaking Coach at Centenary State High School) described the process the students undertake to develop their themes and write their speeches. She said the feedback, provided by adjudicators with backgrounds in the Creative Industries and Business fields, was not obtainable in any other competition. She thanked ESU for conducting the Secondary Schools Public Speaking competition.

Guests enjoy a High Tea

Guests enjoy a High Tea

Eli Gearing delivering his prepared speech

Portia Taggart delivering her prepared speech

Ms Elizabeth Long describing the student process

Guests enthralled by Portia’s address


Friday 19 November – Christmas Party

ESU will hold its annual Christmas Party 19 November 2021 at 6:30pm. Join us for a scrumptious three course meal, lucky door prizes, no speeches and good company. Entrée will be served at 6:40. Full details are shown below. It’s been a year where ESU has been able to fulfil its charter through various events and competitions despite COVID lockdowns and restrictions. Thank you for your support throughout the year.

Where: 66 on Ernest (South Brisbane TAFE)
Parking: Free parking available at TAFE.
Access: Lift from ground floor to restaurant on first floor.
Dress Code: Smart Casual (Christmas themes most welcome).
Cost: $70 members and non-members

A cash bar will operate at very reasonable prices

Christmas Party Menu

Entrée: Trio of seafood, poached bug, Moreton Bay prawn, smoked salmon served with remoulade sauce (GF)
Main Course: Roast Turkey and glazed ham, celery and apple stuffing, roasted potatoes, glazed baby carrots, broccolini, thyme jus and cranberry sauce (GF option)
Dessert: Warm plum pudding with brandy custard and vanilla ice-cream
Gluten Free

Please advise dietary requirements

Reservations are essential. Email secretary@esu.org.au with your reservation details. RSVP required for catering by 8 November.

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