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Brave heroines and heroes, creatures of the night, and elves of the forest are just a few of the characters that live in the storyteller's world. Karen Vuranch is a traditional storyteller. Her age-old stories of Appalachian, American and world cultures have come alive to her audiences. From the whimsical "Squire's Bride" to the poignant story of "Popplesnitch", to the spine-tingling "Thomas' Journey," Karen weaves her stories with enthusiasm and energy. But Karen tells other tales as well. Believing that family stories and stories from history are equally valuable, she incorporates these into her performances. "Everyone is a storyteller and every family has its special story," she tells her audiences. Her performances become a combination of reality and fantasy, with both intimate and global perspectives.
Karen also performs at many storytelling festivals. She was the featured storyteller at Storyfest in Ashland, Ohio during the Balloon Festival, appeared at the storytelling festival at Big South Fork National Park in Tennessee, and the Cave Run Festival in Kentucky. She regularly performs at the West Virginia State Storytelling Festival, and in 1998, she performed at the Dylan Thomas Festival in Swansea, Wales. And, Karen believes it is important to promote the art of storytelling. She is a founding member of the West Virginia Storytelling Guild and is currently a board member; she has served as a liaison for West Virginia to the National Storytelling Network and was a member of the Grants Committee. In addition, she has taught storytelling in many different settings to many age groups. Her workshops include those on Techniques of Storytelling, Incorporating Gesture into Storytelling, How to Collect Oral History and Telling Your Own Story.
- Traditional Appalachian and Multi-Cultural Stories - Karen Vuranch can provide a solo performance of traditional stories. Karen's stories come from many sources and she can tell traditional Appalachian stories, stories from around the world, ghost stories and personal stories. Her performances can be geared to any age, from young children to adults
- Potluck: Stories and Songs about Women, Wisdom and Food - A show that celebrates what women bring to the table, with singer/songwriter Julie Adams of Mountain Stage and Colleen Anderson. For more information about this show, visit the website:Potluck
- Character Building Stories and Songs with Julie Adams - Julie Adams, vocalist for WV Public Radio's Mountain Stage, joins Karen in performing stories and songs that help children learn the values of respect, justice, honesty, fairness, caring, responsibility and citizenship. This participatory program for children is both fun and educational.
- Stories from a Chinese Village - a one hour show about Karen's recent participation in a storytelling exchange trip to the Chinese village of Geng Cun
"Karen is a gifted, natural and talented storyteller...(her) enthusiasm and warm personality radiates to her audience as she weaves you through your own imagination with her stories."
--Rodd and Vivian Kidder, workshop participants
"I want to thank you for coming to the school to tell your wonderful stories. My daughter said it was the 'bestest day' she had ever had at school. When I asked her why, she said, 'Because the Story Lady came today!'... One of the older boys said he would like to be a storyteller like you! Thanks for brightening our day."
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