Karen Kopryanski

Associate Professor

Head of Voice and Speech

Department of Theatre

woman smiling at camera with hands clasped together

Department of Theatre

Contact Info

Karen Kopryanski is an Associate Professor and Head of Voice and Speech for the VCU Department of Theatre and co-editor/co-author of the recently-published book Building Embodiment: Integrating Acting, Voice, and Movement to Illuminate Poetic Text, a collection of 14 essays authored by celebrated poetic text teachers in the United States, Canada, England, and Singapore. She was placed on the US Fulbright Specialist Roster in 2022, and is creating a collaboration with Lecturer Morné Steyn at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Her recent work as an actor and voice/text/dialect coach includes a turn on the Raymond Hodges Stage as the Soccer Mom in the TheatreVCU/Cadence Theatre Company co-production of The Wolves. For VCU, she has coached A Trip to Bountiful, Spamalot, Boy Gets Girl, Into the Woods, Spring Awakening, Eclipsed, and Let The Right One In and mentored graduate student coaches for other productions. Regionally, Kopryanski played Carol Page in Anne Page Hates Fun at the American Shakespeare Center for their inaugural Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries series, and has coached for Virginia Repertory Theatre (Miss Bennett, The 39 Steps, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, River Ditty, Crimes of the Heart), the University of Richmond (Pure Confidence, Top Girls), and lent her voice to Stephen Vitiello’s installation whether there was a bell or whether i knocked at the Institute of Contemporary Art. In 2018, she served as Visiting Faculty for Louisiana State University’s MFA program.

Kopryanski is also Reviews Editor for the Voice and Speech Review – a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Routledge (Taylor and Francis Group) that is distributed internationally, has a Q1 rating in Scopus, and was given honorable mention for the 2021 Council of Editors of Learned Journals’ Phoenix Award for Significant Editorial Achievement. She has presented at conferences in Turkey, Austria, Singapore, Canada, and the United States, adjudicated for the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival and the Virginia High School League, and won the Voice and Speech Trainers Association’s Dorothy Mennen Scholarship to participate in the P3/East Pacific Performance Project in Seattle.

Prior to her arrival in Richmond, Kopryanski spent ten years on the faculty at the Boston Conservatory, where she taught Shakespeare, Suzuki actor training, voice, IPA, dialects and speech in both the BFA and MFA Musical Theater programs. She coached more than 50 theatrical productions in Boston, including those for Huntington Theatre Company, Company One Theatre, American Repertory Theatre, Actor’s Shakespeare Project, Off the Grid, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre, and has taught for the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Harvard University, Boston College, Brandeis University, Suffolk University, the Museum School for the Fine Arts, Teachers as Scholars, Indiana University, the Moscow Art Theatre School and the Cantiere Internazionale Teatro Giovani at the University of Bologna, Italy.

As an actor, Kopryanski studied with Canada’s award-winning Old Trout Puppet Workshop, at the Shakespeare Theatre’s Classical Acting Summer Conservatory, toured with the internationally-acclaimed Das Puppenspiel Puppet Theatre, and spent several summers with Shakespeare in Delaware Park in her hometown of Buffalo, New York. Kopryanski earned her MFA in from the American Repertory Theatre/Moscow Art Theatre Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University, and received her BA in Theatre from the State University of New York at Oswego. She is a member of Actor’s Equity Association and an Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework.