Ryan Long, new chair department of theater art and assistant professor of theater, talks about the excitement of being a new member of Huntington’s faculty and her first major play.
By Laura Caicedo, Staff Writer
Huntington University welcomed Ryan Long this semester as the chair department of Theatre arts and as an assistant professor. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Long graduated with a degree in English and Literature at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She then got her master’s at Savannah College of Art and Design. Later on, she acquired a certificate on Shakespeare & His Contemporaries at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in England.
She found the opportunity to work at Huntington through a friend that told her the position was open.
“In February we came to campus for an interview and my husband and I just really liked the environment,” said Long. “We like the people that we met. We were hopeful and a few weeks later we got a call and got offered the job.”
Long says that it has been a little bit of a challenge, with her having a three-year-old girl, a stay-home husband, and her support system so far away. Yet, professionally, the theater department has helped her in the transition by giving her advice and helping her navigate things.
When it comes to students, Long only has good things to say.
“They have been absolutely phenomenal. They have such a sense of community in and among themselves, and they also have just welcomed me and my family into that community,” said Long. “There really is something unique about the community that’s here at Huntington and I’ve worked at a couple of other institutions – Christian – I’ve never really experienced anything like I have at Huntington.”
When it came to choosing what kind of play she wanted to do, she landed on Angel Street, a performance that had been on her radar for a long time. With the opportunity to act at Zurcher Auditorium, she used the big space to convey Mrs. Manningham’s feelings of being isolated psychologically.
In contrast to the Victorian piece presented during the fall, Long is looking at their spring musical Charlie Brown, one she has experience with directing and acting.
“I think that it’s such a fun musical and it’s so engaging for audiences of all ages,” said Long. “I mean, you can bring kids to it, you can bring adults to it, and everybody’s going to find something that they like about it.”
Angel Street was not only a successful first performance for Long, but also for the actors. Two of them got nominated for the Irene Ryan acting scholarship, which will lead them to the regional festival in January where they will compete against other students for scholarships. And if they do win, they will next go to the national level. The costume department received a certificate of merit for their work, and their sound engineer got recognized as well.
“This was seriously a group effort,” Long said about the play. “If any one of the people had not put in the work that they did, I do not think it would have been as good as it was.”