Charles Long wins Southeastern Theatre Conference award

A Cookeville Drama Center production that netted state-level awards for two Tennessee Tech University actors last year has now won regional honors.

Charles Long, an instructor of Curriculum and Instruction at TTU, was named best actor at the recent Southeastern Theatre Conference in Arlington, Va.

And the show for which he captured the honor — John Steinbeck’s "Of Mice and Men," produced by Chad McDonald — also received an award for technical excellence.

" One of the participants said this was the strongest competition he’d ever been a part of — and that he’d been involved with the Southeastern Theatre Conference for 50 years. I took our win as quite an honor after that statement," Long said.

This year’s competition included about 1,200 people and represented 10 to 14 states, he said.

At the Tennessee Theatre Association awards ceremony last year, the show received honors for technical excellence, best production and best directors.

" We were just fortunate to have had such a great cast and crew," Long said.

He portrayed the slow-witted but lovable character of Lennie Small and also teamed up with TTU forensics coach Steve Gwilt to direct the production, which was presented at a number of local high schools in order to raise money for travel expenses to the regional conference.

" We had very positive reactions from the high school audiences, and we felt good to be able to help introduce them to this wonderful work of literature," he said.