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Kirk Denmark

Publicity Biography from August, 1972:

     Kirk Denmark is professor of Theatre Arts at Beloit College in Wisconsin as well as a popular lecturer, interpretive reader, and professional director of plays. He was founding chairman of the Theatre Arts Department at Beloit where he also established an extensive theatre program (both student and professional) when he went there after four years as a U.S. Navy officer during World War II, serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific areas.

     Denmark founded the professional Equity Summer Court Theatre at Beloit College in 1951 and directed the highly-praised company through its 20th Anniversary Season in 1971 when the final production of Sheridan's "The School for Scandal" was the 303rd play directed by him for Beloit College alone. His direction of student plays for the College was facilitated in 1968 when he designed a unique laboratory three-quarter arena theatre to supplement the two older theatres used.

     A native of Missouri, Denmark began his theatre studies in Springfield while in high school and at Southwest Missouri State College where he took his B.A. degree while simultaneously directing the Springfield Little Theatre which he had founded. He will be presented an "Outstanding Alumnus Award" in November of 1972 during the Homecoming celebrations of Southwest Missouri State.

     Denmark received his M.A. degree in drama at Yale University where he studied directing with Otto Preminger at the Yale Drama School; then he received his PhM degree at the University of Wisconsin where he concentrated on playwriting and play direction with Ronald Elwy Mitchell, and interpretative reading with Gertrude E. Johnson. He also taught and directed plays at the University of Wisconsin then.

     In the Fall of 1969 Denmark was guest director for a highly acclaimed stage production of Moliere's "Tartuffe" at the magnificent new Alley Theatre located in Houston, Texas. He has directed plays for the Junior League of America, the Madison Theatre Guild in Wisconsin, the Rockford Little Theatre in Illinois, the University of Wisconsin Players at Madison, and other groups in addition to his more than 300 directing chores at Beloit College.

     Denmark has presented lecture-demonstrations on arena theatre staging in many cities and has been successful with his oratorio style productions of literature such as "The Book of Job" and "The Boy with the Cart." He has served as theatre consultant in Florida, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, and Wisconsin. In the Fall of 1968 he completed work with Jean Rosenthal for a new theatre complex that is to be built on the campus of Beloit College.

     Denmark's translation of plays by Moliere have been produced in Minnesota, New York, Wisconsin, Virginia, North Dakota, Montana, Oregon, Texas, Maryland, Missouri, Illinois, Nebraska, and Florida -- with professional productions of "The Miser" by Milwaukee Repertory Theater and Syracuse Repertory Theatre.

     He studied in Europe for the first time while on sabbatical leave during the year 1953-54. In England he concentrated on Shakespeare production during two months at Stratford-on-Avon and London. In Paris he concentrated on the staging of Moliere's plays as a special observer at the Comedie Francaise while also studying mime and improvisation at Education Par Le Jeu Dramatique. At the same time he studied dance and choreography with Jacqueline Robinson who taught for the Jean-Louis Barrault school; and he danced in concert with Madame Robinson's own modern dance group at La Salle Mozart in Paris.

     Denmark's study in London, England, and in Copenhagen, Denmark, continued in 1961 and 1969 and 1971. His study-tours of professional theatres in the United States have taken him to New York, New Haven, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Phoenix, Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Louis, Miami, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C.; and out of the United States as well as Canada where he has visited Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Stratford, Montreal, and Winnipeg as an observer of rehearsals along with classes and performances. He is a Patron of the Shaw Festival at Canada's famous Niagra-on-the-Lake and The Shakespeare Festival at Canada's Stratford.

     In January 1965, Denmark was elected to the Board of Directors of American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA). He is included in "The Biographical Encyclopedia and Who's Who of the American Theatre," first edition published in 1966. He is also a member of the Actors' Equity Association.

     During September and October of 1972, Denmark will be Visiting Theatre Artist at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he will direct one of his Moliere translations. In addition to lectures on various aspects of theatre in Europe and America, he has presented reading programs to such groups as Chicago Drama League (4 times). Town and Country Arts Club of Chicago, Rockford Women's Club, River Forrest Tennis Club, Four Arts Club of Elkhart, the Kenosha AAUW and Evanston Drama Club as well as colleges and universities and service clubs from Indiana to Arizona.

     Typical of his travel for theatre engagements and visitation was 1968-69 when he traveled 19,098 air miles for stops from Toronto to Miami and Copenhagen to San Francisco.

 

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