E. Kingsley Povenmire was born in Laurelville, Ohio in 1904. He received a bachelor's degree in education from Ohio State University and an M.F.A. degree from Yale in 1940, and studied for an additional year at Garrett Biblical Institute. He joined the Theater faculty at San Diego State University in 1946 and received the Distinguished Professor Award in 1969. He is best known for directing the SDSU Verse Choir of 20 speaking voices, providing programs for the campus and community.
After retiring in 1971, Povenmire wrote a book, Choral Speaking and the Verse Choir, and two plays, Command the Morning and Buttered-Side Down, both of which were produced and performed in the San Diego area. He also served as a speech consultant for General Dynamics, SeaWorld, KPBS-TV, and various churches. Povenmire died on July 20, 1993.
1992 interview with E. Kingsley Povenmire, SDSU Professor of Speech and Drama, 1946-1971.
Download the PDF transcript.
In this interview totaling 37 minutes and 26 seconds, Povenmire discusses his education, what got him interested in speech, and his service in the Armed Services YMCA during World War II. He also offers his thoughts on Presidents Hepner and Love, as well as Hunton D. Sellman, the Old Globe Theater, the Reader's Theater, and the Verse Choir.
This interview contains extensive excerpts of the musical choir recording The Crucifixion, directed by Povenmire, with verses from James Weldon Johnson's God's Trombones, and featuring the voices of Cleavon Little and De Etta Little. The full audio cassette of this recording is available from the Media Center in Love Library.
Interview conducted by Michael Milligan on 8/11/1992, less than a year before Povenmire's death.
Image credit: E. Kingsley Povenmire in 1968, University Archives Photograph Collection, Special Collections & University Archives.