Alvina Krause: American theatre director (1893 - 1981) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Alvina Krause
American theatre director

Alvina Krause

Alvina Krause
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American theatre director
Was Theater professional Theatre director
From United States of America
Field Arts
Gender female
Birth 28 January 1893, New Lisbon, Juneau County, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Death 31 December 1981, Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (aged 88 years)
Star sign Aquarius
The details (from wikipedia)


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.

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.

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

Miss Krause's life partner was her former student, Lucy McCammon (August 12, 1898–December 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.

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.

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 then 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.

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.

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 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 mose 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.

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.

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.

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.


  • Richard Benjamin (1959)
  • William Daniels
  • David A. Downs, Northwestern faculty
  • Gerald Freedman
  • Penny Fuller
  • George Furth
  • Frank Galati
  • Charlton Heston (C45)
  • Ronald Holgate
  • Corrine Jacker
  • Jennifer Jones
  • Martha Kemper
  • Walter Kerr
  • Lucy McCammon
  • Billie McCants
  • Garry Marshall (J56)
  • Marshall Mason
  • Eric Morris
  • Patricia Neal (C47, H94)
  • Agnes Nixon
  • James Olson
  • Paula Prentiss (1960)
  • Lawrence Pressman
  • Ralph S. Purdum
  • Robert Reed
  • Tony Roberts (1961)
  • Inga Swenson
  • Neal Weaver
  • Laird Williamson
  • Helen Wood
  • Joy Zinoman, founder of Studio Theatre (Washington, D.C.)

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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