Alvina Krause

Alvina Krause (January 28, 1893 – December 31, 1981) was an American drama teacher at Northwestern University, theatrical entrepreneur, "maker of stars", and director. Her students called her AK.[4]

Alvina Krause
Alvina Eloise Krause

(1893-01-28)January 28, 1893
DiedDecember 31, 1981(1981-12-31) (aged 88)
Resting placeNew Lisbon City Cemetery
  • Alvina Krause Theater, New York
  • Alvina Krause Theatre, Bloomsburg
  • Alvina Krause Studio, Northwestern
Occupationacting teacher
TitleProfessor emeritus
Partner(s)Lucy McCammon (?-1981)
Awardshonorary doctorate, Doane College, 1969

Personal life

As a girl in rural Wisconsin she found a copy of Hamlet (one source says Doll's House), and was smitten with a love of dramatic literature, even though an older sister teased her for mispronouncing many of the words. As a high school senior, she dismissed her first marriage proposal, vowing to seek a career. After a stint at University of Wisconsin, she found her way to Evanston.[4][6]

In her first year at the Cumnock school she was thrilled and intimated when its founder (later professor at Northwestern) addressed the new class.[4][7]

Miss Krause's life partner was her former student, Lucy McCammon (August 12, 1898December 19, 1991), born to a family prominent in Springfield, Missouri. Lucy McCammon taught physical education at Bloomsburg State College (1926-1958). From 1971, the two women shared a house in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania.[8][9][10][11]

Professional life

After high school, she attended the Cumnock Oratorical School, 1914-1916. After graduation, she taught elocution and girls' athletics in high schools in Colorado and Springfield, Missouri.[4][5][6]

She returned to Northwestern, earning a bachelor's degree in 1928. She taught drama and English at a high school in Seaside, Oregon, where some of her family lived. She coached the girls' basketball team to a state championship. She taught drama for a year at Hamline University in St. Paul. Her student group from Hamline performed so well at a drama festival in Evanston, that Northwestern hired her.[4][5]

In 1930, Northwestern appointed her an Instructor of Voice and Interpretation in the School of Speech. She earned a master's degree there in 1933; her master's thesis (A Study of Creative Imagination) purported to describe the creative process scientifically. Her principal duties were giving private lessons in voice and interpretation. Budget considerations led the School of Speech to discontinue private instruction in the early 1940s. She was appointed assistant professor in 1941, and developed a one-year course in acting. She expanded this to a three-year acting program, developing an approach still used at Northwestern and emulated elsewhere. In 1957 she was appointed Associate Professor.[4][5]

Miss Krause was the artistic director and driving force for summer theater at Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, for twenty years from 1945 producing 178 plays by Chekhov, Ibsen, Molière, Rostand, Shakespeare, and Shaw. It drew scouts from movie studios and the professional stage. Over spring break in 1945, she and Miss McCammon (who taught physical education at nearby Bloomsburg State Teachers College) leased the Forest Inn Playhouse. (Ethel Barrymore's daughter Ethel Barrymore Colt had performed there.) Each summer, AK invited some of her Northwestern acting students to Eagles Mere. She herself acted in two productions. The students acted and produced the plays, sewed costumes, sold tickets door to door, cooked, cleaned, and controlled the bat and mouse population. They featured performers such as Patricia Neal, Jimmy Gheen, Charlton Heston, Jennifer Jones, Paula Prentiss, and Richard Benjamin. The legacy remained in a nationally recognized summer drama workshop Dewire Community Center, as of 1993.[4][10][12]

Northwestern forced her to retire in 1961, but in the face of alumni protest they let her stay on for two years as a part-time lecturer. In 1963 she retired as professor emeritus.[4][5]

She founded a repertory company at Chicago's Harper Theatre in 1966. It achieved critical acclaim in its first season (for Six Characters in Search of an Author, The Physicists, Too True To Be Good), but failed.[4]

She enjoyed great popularity even in retirement, and students engaged her for private instruction. She conducted master classes as late as 1976 and 1977. She had moved to Bloomsburg in 1971, and some of her former master class students founded the Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble in 1978. They engaged the 83-year-old Krause as artistic advisor, and later artistic director. In the summer of 1981 she directed Lady Audley's Secret, a 19thcentury play, there.[1][13]


Marcus Overton (actor, director, writer, critic) (BS Schl Speech NU 65)


  1. MITGANG, HERBERT (January 1, 1982). "ALVINA KRAUSE, 88, PROFESSOR OF DRAMA TAUGHT MANY STARS". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-03.
  2. "New Theater Honors Alvina Krause". Northwestern (magazine). Spring 2010. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  3. "Stage Listings: Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, 2013". Times Leader. Wilkes Barre. November 29, 2013. Archived from the original on December 8, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  4. Goode, James (December 15, 2004). "Ms. Alvina Krause". Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 2013-12-02. Please see also
  5. Osborne, Lori J. (August 25, 2004). "Alvina E. Krause (1893-1981) Collection, 1929-2003". Northwestern University Library. Retrieved 2012-12-06. During her early years at Northwestern, Krause's primary responsibility was giving students private instruction in voice and interpretation. In the early 1940s, the School of Speech was forced by budgetary constraints to drop its private instruction program and Krause was appointed to Assistant Professor, responsible for the one year basic acting course. Over the next few years, Krause revamped the basic acting program, transforming it into a three year program. The first year focused on developing student's artistic skills, including work in voice and movement, and cross-disciplinary work in other artistic fields. The second year, students worked on developing their dramatic skills, using classical dramas and characters to understand the art of playmaking. During the third year, students focused on principles of "style" — developing their own sensibilities and polishing their communications skills. Krause's approach to teaching acting through this three year program became a model for the field and continues at Northwestern to this day.
  6. McCants, Billie (2006) [1981]. "Alvina Krause on Women in Theatre". In Chinoy, Helen Krich; Jenkins, Linda Walsh (eds.). Women in American Theatre (revised and expanded 3rd ed.). New York, NY: Theatre Communications Group. p. 113. ISBN 1-55936-263-4. LCCN 00037753. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  7. Cumnock, Robert McLean, ed. (1913) [1883]. Cumnock's school speaker - rhetorical recitations for boys and girls (14th ed.). Chicago: A. C. McClurg. professor of rhetoric and elocution, Northwestern University
  8. Dunkelberger, Robert (Winter 2013). "The Early Years of Women's Athletics". Bloomsburg: the University Magazine. over the shoulder. Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. pp. 30–31. Retrieved 2013-12-05. ..1926 when Lucy McCammon was hired to teach women's physical education classes. McCammon organized the "B" Club so women could reach athletic milestones and earn letters for participation in sports, as men did. The club also competed against women from other schools in "Play Days." When McCammon retired in 1958...
  9. Scriver, Mary Strachan (July 12, 2012). "ALVINA KRAUSE: KRAUSE NOTES". Retrieved 2013-12-03. "The Fierce Old Lesbian," as one of her former students put it...
  10. Shearer, Stephen Michael (2006). Patricia Neal: An Unquiet Life. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0813123917. LCCN 2005035533. Retrieved 2013-12-08.
  11. {{cite news |first=William |last=Triplett |newspaper=Washington Post |title=Ball of Fire in a Crowded Theater: Joy Zinoman's Ferocity Ignites Studio's Productions |date=December 22, 1996 |page=G01 |accessdate=2013-12-08 |url= |quote=Her teacher was the legendary Alvina Krause, "a fierce old lesbian," as Zinoman recalls her, and an apostle of Stanislavski-style realism. Of this, the teenage Joy knew zip. "I was in a state of shock. Everything I knew wasn't going to work." For three years, Krause "tortured" Zinoman by endlessly drilling into her the importance of technique. Voice, movement, diction: over and over, in different styles, do it until it's done right, and then do it again because it's not right enough. "There was no 'make or break' about her," Zinoman recalls. "Only 'break.' Her standards were so high, and whenever you got close, she would run ahead and raise them."}}
  12. {{cite book |first=Robert J. |last=Wise, Jr. |title=FACADE EASEMENTS: A PRESERVATION ALTERNATIVE FOR HISTORIC EAGLES MERE, PENNSYLVANIA |publisher=University of Pennsylvania Libraries |year=1993 |accessdate=2013-12-04 |url=}} (master's thesis)
  13. "Theatre Ensemble to perform". The Spotlight. Williamsport, Pa. 17701: The Williamsport Area Community College. 17 (1). October 19, 1981. Retrieved 2013-12-04. The Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble ... was organized May 12, 1978, by a small group of young professionals. These professionals, now the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble, came from all over the United Slates to study and work with Miss Alvina Krause. Miss Krause was instrumental in shaping of the Northwestern University theatre department. She is also an internationally known teacher of theatre and an authority on the works of Anton Chekhov. Locally, Miss Krause is remembered as the director of the playhouse at Eagles Mere, a position she held for 20 years.
  14. Chinoy, Helen Krich; Jenkins, Linda Walsh, eds. (2006) [1981]. "Acting Teachers". Women in American Theatre (revised and expanded 3rd ed.). New York, NY: Theatre Communications Group, Inc. p. 113. ISBN 1-55936-263-4. LCCN 00037753. Retrieved 2013-12-04.
  15. Whitaker, Lauren (November 19, 2012). "UNCSA NAMES THEATRE FOR GERALD FREEDMAN, DEAN EMERITUS OF SCHOOL OF DRAMA". Winston-Salem, North Carolina: University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  16. Freedman, Gerald (Summer 2008). "My Life in Art: A 21st Century Riff on Stanislavsky" (PDF). The Fellows Gazette. The Roger L. Stevens Address. 47. College of Fellows of the American Theatre. pp. 5–10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-05. It started when I went to Northwestern University and fell under the guidance of Alvina Krause, a former girl's gym teacher and eurhythmics instructor who seemed to have discovered Stanislavski and his techniques by accident, by curiosity and by observing the actors of the Twenties and Thirties. I still use many of her teachings in my work both professionally and in mentoring at the North Carolina School of the Arts. They are still valid. Alvina Krause reinforced in Art what I had learned from my Jewish parents in Lorain, Ohio. An unalloyed irreducible/inflexible respect for integrity of execution in all things. I arrived at Northwestern loaded with potential in skills, a hunger to learn about everything and boundless curiosity and energy. Alvina Krause guided me through a maze of possibilities to a clearer vision of who I was meant to be.
  17. "Introduction of Roger L. Stevens Speaker Gerald Freedman" (PDF). The Fellows Gazette. 47. College of Fellows of the American Theatre. Summer 2008. pp. 4–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-05. ...he is a protegé of Alvina Krause at Northwestern University during the golden age of that famous theatre school; he presided over the golden era of John Houseman's Acting Company at Juilliard; he was artistic director during the golden years of Joe Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival; he was instrumental in the creation of a dozen musicals during the golden age of Broadway; he was artistic director of the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford during that company's golden vintage; last year, he directed Beckett's Happy Days at an Istanbul on the Golden Horn of Turkey; and he recently staged a golden anniversary revival of West Side Story.
  18. Kemper, Martha. "Me, Miss Krause, and Joan". Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. Retrieved 2013-12-09. Martha Kemper ... graduated from Northwestern University in 1976, and moved to Bloomsburg, PA, to study with Alvina Krause and become a founding member of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. As an actor with BTE, her roles included Masha in THE SEAGULL and Lady Audley in LADY AUDLEY'S SECRET, both directed by Alvina Krause, Mrs. George in Shaw's GETTING MARRIED directed by Jerry Stropnicky, Kristine Linde in A DOLL'S HOUSE, directed by John Chism, and Polly Garter in UNDER MILKWOOD directed by Rand Whipple. Kemper directed Shaw's PYGMALION, as part of what was then BTE's Theatre Arts in the Classroom program. She left Bloomsburg to get an MFA from Penn State University ... with BTE's Laurie McCants in her piece, Industrious Angels, and more recently, at BTE's Women's Theatre Festival.
  19. Morris, Eric (2007). The Diary of a Professional Experiencer: An Autobiographical Journey Into the Evolution of an Acting System. 8004 Fareholm Drive, Los Angeles, California 90046: Ermor Enterprises. Retrieved 2013-12-02.
  20. "Ralph S. Purdum Actor, 63" (fee, via Fairfax County Public Library). The New York Times. November 29, 1989. Gale Document Number: GALE|A175793996. Retrieved 2013-12-02. Biography in Context. (subscription required)

Further reading

This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.