Doug Riley as Mark Twain

Wanted: Actors to Portray Historical Figures

The West Virginia Humanities Council is seeking applications from individuals interested in portraying historical figures for its popular History Alive! program. Portrayals of historically significant people no longer living, from any period of history, are eligible for consideration.

The Humanities Council will accept proposals for portrayals of influential people who have made important contributions to state, national or international history. These could include, but are not limited to: explorers, inventors, musicians, national leaders, artists, authors, educators, military leaders, athletes, scientists, business and labor leaders, activists and others. The current roster of characters includes Gabriel Arthur, Nellie Bly, Stonewall Jackson, Ostenaco, Theodore Roosevelt, Sacagawea, Charles Schulz, Harriet Tubman and Mark Twain.

JoAnn Peterson as Nellie Bly

History Alive! characters are researched thoroughly by the presenters who portray them. Research in first-person sources, such as letters, journals, speeches, official papers, autobiographies and other archival materials, is required in order to develop the presentations. History Alive! presentations are given for civic groups and at schools, libraries, senior centers, museums, parks, historical societies, community events, festivals and a wide range of public gatherings across West Virginia.

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To apply, contact Kyle Warmack at the Humanities Council at 304-346-8500 or History Alive! character application materials are available at

The application deadline is Feb. 1. Proposed characters should have statewide name recognition. Legends and mythical figures are not eligible. Composite characters representing a specific figure from West Virginia history, such as a coal miner, suffragist or folklife practitioner, may be considered. Submitted proposals are reviewed by a committee, and any that are selected for further consideration advance to an audition to be held this spring. Presenters who pass the audition will join the History Alive! program beginning immediately after selection, and receive a stipend from the Humanities Council for each program they present.