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Eastern Celebrates Appalachian Heritage, Diversity and Resiliency

12/5/2013

On October, 31, 2013, Eastern WV Community and Technical College hosted the 15th performance of Revelations, a theatrical presentation about Appalachian resiliency in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people, written and produced by folklorist Carrie Nobel Kline. The play explores what it’s like for LGBT West Virginians growing up and living in Appalachia. Nearly 50 people attended the staged reading, including students and members from the community, and many participated in the thoughtful and insightful open forum discussion following the presentation.

“This was our first reading in a medium size West Virginia town,” noted Kline, a Spring 2001 Rockefeller Fellowship recipient and Scholar in Residence at the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Gender in Appalachia at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. “And never in the history of all the readings has such a wonderful discussion taken place after the event.”

Folklorist Carrie Kline leads a semi-circle of rehearsed volunteers in a staged reading of ‘Revelations.’

Kline has previously produced the performance in the urban centers of Morgantown, Wheeling, Charleston and Huntington, and in cities in Georgia, Maryland and Virginia.

“Performing Revelations in Moorefield is a real breakthrough,” she emphasized, “and I congratulate you all. Eastern is truly ahead of its time.”

Audience member Mike Crites, who thought that “Revelations was a powerful presentation,” agreed.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought something like this would come to Moorefield when I was coming out. It resonated with me on several levels, and gave a much needed voice to the Appalachian LGTB community."

Crites, a Moorefield native and successful businessman, wished “that more of the local community could have seen it, but this is still a very rural community that doesn't always welcome change. Yet, I am so pleased that the play was even presented,” he said.

“So change does happen — even slowly.”

To stage the Moorefield production, author Kline recruited several volunteer readers from the community and the college staff and administration, including Eastern President Charles ‘Chuck’ Terrell.

“Unfortunately, we focus too much on personal differences,” Terrell noted after the performance, “when instead we should recognize what we share in common.

Revelations created a discovery moment and opportunity to build a stronger and caring community,” he said.

A WV Diversity for Equity Grant, awarded jointly by West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission and Council for Community and Technical College Education, sponsored the staged reading. The performance is the first of a series of events under the grant that Eastern will offer the community this academic year highlighting themes of diversity-and-inclusion.

Watch Eastern’s event calendar at www.easternwv.edu/events for announcements of upcoming college-and-community events and extended learning opportunities. Or like Eastern’s Facebook page for real time announcements.

At future events, Eastern looks forward to having you in the audience.