Alexander, Frederick Matthias (1869–1955),
Australian elocutionist. By the 1890s Alexander had established himself as a professional reciter or elocutionist, touring the Australian outback in a one-man variety show that included the declaiming of Shakespeare. Episodes of crippling hoarseness became increasingly frequent until he was forced to quit and seek a solution to the problem. His discovery that he tended to pull his head back, thereby depressing the larynx, during the act of declaiming led him to develop his technique for a stress-reducing alignment of the head, neck, and back. In addition to greater ease in his public speaking, he noticed an improvement in his overall health and well-being. He devoted the rest of his life to the teaching and propagation of his technique. A course for training teachers in the Alexander technique was established in London in 1931.