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Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series to feature Karen Vuranch at the Cultural Center on May 13

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History will hold its final Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night segment of the spring season on Friday, May 13, 2005 at 6 p.m., in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The series is hosted by Peter Kosky and the May program will feature Karen Vuranch. The Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night is free and open to the public.

New and established writers are invited to come and share their poetry and storytelling talents at the open mic sessions. Kosky, a history teacher at South Charleston High School and a talented singer/songwriter, will introduce all participants. The open mic session is limited to one hour, the guest artists will begin their shows shortly after the last poem/story has been read, whether or not the hour is over.

Vuranch, of Fayetteville, is a storyteller, actress, and writer well known for her traditional storytelling, plays based on oral history, and living history presentations of famous American women. She is recognized nationally for her work and has toured extensively throughout West Virginia and the United States. She also has completed five tours of Wales and England performing her program Coal Camp Memories, a one-act play she wrote after much research into the life in the West Virginia coal fields. In addition, she participated in a storytelling exchange in China in 2002.

Vuranch regularly portrays Pearl S. Buck, Mother Jones, Emma Edmonds, Clara Barton and Mary Draper Ingles as part of the West Virginia Humanities Council’s History Alive! program. She also has recreated the role of Grace O’Malley, a Renaissance pirate and performs a World War II play, Homefront. She also has an audio tape, My Grandmother’s Necklace, which features her performing stories she has written and collected.

Vuranch has been honored by many organizations including the Corridor Tourism Commission, receiving the Robert C. Byrd Community Service Award in April 2005; the West Virginia Storytelling Guild; Tamarack; West Virginia Tourism Office; and the West Virginia Women’s Commission.

With her husband, Gene Worthington, Vuranch began a performance company, WV Enterprises. They have given performances in a variety of venues including Las Vegas and the Ellipse Theatre at the White House.

For more information about the Poetry/Storytelling Open Mic Night series, contact (304) 558-0162.

The West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Division is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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