Columbus native in coming faith-based TV series ‘Smoketown’

Looking back now, the Columbus native was hardly acting at all.

Charlotte Battin found herself cast this summer as a main character’s grandmother caring for a disabled family member for an upcoming national TV mini-series “Smoketown,” scheduled to air sometime next year on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, according to a network spokesman.

She appears in one of eight episodes.

“This was right up my alley,” Battin said. “It was such a natural fit.”

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For example, from 1992 to 2000 she served as executive director of the local Just Friends Adult Day Services, nurturing the lives of the mostly frail senior population. Plus, she cared for her own live-in mother for a year. And her grandmother lived with her family for 12 years.

“Even the lines (for me) were perfect,” Battin said.

She was part of a crew that filmed elements of the pilot in May in Louisville, Kentucky. According to the Internet Movie Database, the show revolves around a family that runs the Smoketown Family Shelter. In the wake of a mysterious and shocking murder, three people — an assistant chief of police, a reporter and a teenage girl — are supernaturally empowered to fight for the city’s poorest and most racially diverse neighborhood.

Battin found the stage at age 3 in a family that never went to the movies until she was a teenager. Her mother put her in dance class at 3 and let her find her groove.

“I think part of the attraction was the applause,” Battin said. “And I got a lot of compliments early on about being graceful.”

Theater classes at Butler University and Indiana University fueled additional interest in the arts. Eventually, in the coming years, she would operate a dance studio and choreograph for community productions while also leading a local Polynesian dance troupe.

In recent years, one of her pet projects, the Jan Lucas-Grimm-penned one-woman play “Freedom Is My Home,” featuring Battin as a fictional Quaker woman hiding slaves along the mid-1800s Underground Railroad, went nationwide to schools, libraries and elsewhere via her Charlotte Battin Productions. The local writer who created the award-winning script several years ago saluted Battin’s foresight for the need for such a work.

“She had her finger on the pulse on that one,” Lucas-Grimm said.

For the past 20 years, Battin has landed work ranging from smaller movies to regional TV commercials through the regional Heyman Talent Artists Agency, with offices in Indianapolis, Louisville and Cincinnati.

“Hopefully, the longer I’ve done this, the better I have become,” she said.

Battin’s agent, Laura vonHolle, said that the actress has become one of her favorites on the roster.

“She has become a strong performer through perseverance and a willingness to grow her craft,” vonHalle said. “Charlotte is a sweet soul, and that shines through on the screen.”

Battin likes the Christian faith-oriented aspect of “Smoketown” in general, and of her grandmother character in particular. It means even more when she realizes that many scripts for actresses such as her feature ample profanities and themes that she sometimes finds distasteful, particularly when she considers her real-life role as a grandmother.

In a key “Smoketown” scene in which the grandmother tends to the disabled youngster, another character asks, “Don’t you get tired of all this (work)?”

“Well,” Battin’s character responds, “I’m not doing this all alone.”

The local actress finds special satisfaction in reaching audiences with a solid takeaway of sorts in her portrayals.

“I hope they can find a good lesson,” Battin said, “or maybe a good example to follow.”

About Charlotte Battin

Columbus native Charlotte Battin, who will appear in the national TV mini-series “Smoketown” on Trinity Broadcasting Network next year, has performed in:

  • The one-woman play “Freedom Is My Home,” presented in many schools and elsewhere nationwide
  • A variety of USO-style Veterans Day shows locally over the years
  • Dancing With the Stars … Columbus Style, since she conceived of the fundraiser in 2009
  • A variety of regional TV commercials, such as with Franciscan Health Network
Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.