Karen Vuranch is a storyteller, actress, historian and writer. Using solid historical research, she creates characters that bring history to life. She has toured internationally with ‘Coal Camp Memories’. Based on oral history, it chronicles a woman’s experience in the Appalachian coalfields. ‘Homefront’ is a play based on oral history she collected about women in World War II.
Karen also recreates historical figures: author Pearl Buck; labor organizer Mother Jones; humanitarian Clara Barton, and Indian captive Mary Draper Ingles, Grace O’Malley (a 16th century Irish pirate) and Wild West outlaw Belle Starr, the First Lady of Food, Julia Child, Hollywood gossip columnist Louella Parsons, beloved children’s author Laura Ingles Wilder and her newest character, American literary giant Edith Wharton. ‘Potluck: Stories and Songs about Women, Wisdom and Food’, an innovative show about the contributions of women in a community, is performed with singer/songwriter Julie Adams and poet Colleen Anderson.
Karen is a traditional storyteller and has been performing in schools, libraries and communities for over 20 years. Karen has presented many workshops on both the techniques of storytelling and how to collect oral history. She participated in the Nu Wa Storytelling Exchange to China in 2002, when 34 American storytellers visited the storytelling village of Gengcun. Karen currently serves as faculty at Concord University teaching Theater and Speech and courses in Appalachian Studies. She has been honored by many organizations including Tamarack, The West Virginia Storytelling Guild, The West Virginia Legislature and the West Virginia Division of Tourism.