NTC strives to be knowledgeable, aware, stimulating, caring, fun and creative. We do this every day with the help of some incredible people. To get to know each member of our staff, click on the photos below.

AllAccountingClient ServicesITProductionSales and MarketingSchool Communications

Ward Eames

Founder and President

Ward Eames

Founder and President

In 1978, Ward founded NTC to deliver entertaining and engaging programs that motivate families, students and educators. For nearly 35 years, organisations have used NTC’s engagement strategies and tactics to enhance their reputations and visibility in the communities they serve. Ward has worked with clients in the energy, financial services, health, technology, environment, recycling and consumer products industries, among others, and is in the third year of producing a nationally broadcast TV series for tweens and teens called M@dAbout. Under Ward’s supervision, NTC has developed the art of teaching using live theatre into a science of its own. With a keen eye for talent, he has assembled a staff filled with knowledgeable, aware, creative, stimulating, fun, caring personalities, building NTC into the largest educational touring theatre company in the country. As founder and president, Ward Eames oversees all departments by keeping a finger on the pulse of the day-to-day operations of the organisation.

Pat Rowan

Vice President, Operations

Pat Rowan

Vice President, Operations

Patrick started working for NTC in August of 1998. He has traveled across the country performing in such shows as The Legend of Mongoose Mountain, The Further Adventures of Louie the Lightning Bug, Showdown at Dry Gulch, Alice in Waterland, Men In Plaid and Ranger Ted’s Excellent Safety Adventure. As the Vice President of Operations, Pat is responsible for all aspects of Production and Print Distribution of NTC programs including live events, television, video, digital media, social media and printed materials. As the Vice President of Operations, Pat is a member of the Executive Staff Leadership Team and responsible to create, develop and tour professional quality educational children’s theatre programs for clients all across the country. He is also responsible for overseeing the daily operations and all aspects of NTC Production, including but not limited to: budgets, directing, casting & hiring, actor training, troupe logistics, on-the-road tour management, travel, print/web development and leading weekly tactical staff meetings. Pat also had the pleasure of being the Producer for the nationally syndicated weekly TV show M@dAbout® Mr. Rowan has worked for several regional theatres including Peninsula Players in Door County, WI, Theatre L’Homme Dieu in Alexandria, MN, The Season’s Dinner Theatre, Hennepin Stages and St. Croix Valley Summer Theatre both as a performer and stage technician. Patrick lives in the Twin Cities with his lovely and talented wife, Jennifer, who enjoy being the proud parents of 3 children, identical twin girls and a boy.

Margaret Eames

Director of Finance

Margaret Eames

Director of Finance

After 15 years in the graphic arts industry, and two children, Margaret joined The National Theatre for Children. As a co-owner of NTC, the financial and human resources department seemed a natural fit. Over the past eight years she has taken control of the accounts receivable and payable, the company payroll and monthly financial statements. She also oversees the company’s employee benefits plan as well as the general office management.

Katie Miesen

Director, Client Services

Katie Miesen

Director, Client Services

Katie started working with The National Theatre for Children in 1990 as the assistant to the President. Currently Katie is the Director of Client Services and is responsible for negotiating and executing contracts between NTC and its sponsors, PR, and newsletters. She also works in conjunction with NTC senior management and production staff on new product development. Katie lives in Minneapolis.

Eddie Eames

Director, Marketing and Client Services

Eddie Eames

Director, Marketing and Client Services

Becoming a full-time part of the NTC team in August 2009, Eddie has a unique perspective on NTC’s operations. A Marketing & Communications major and graduate from the University of St. Thomas, he analyzed the NTC business model and practices. Now as the Director of Marketing, Eddie is responsible for managing NTC’s business development and content marketing areas and is tasked with creating relationships with corporate, governmental and non-profit sponsors who want to partner with NTC to actively engage students, teachers and families on important societal issues through the school channel. Prior to this role, Eddie has spent time executing projects in numerous areas of NTC ranging from Client Services, Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service departments. http://www.ana.net/content/show/id/32228

Frank Maciel

Manager of Product Development

Frank Maciel

Manager of Product Development

Frank Maciel’s first paid acting gig was touring Los Angeles with Alice in Waterland for NTC in 1989. After moving to Minneapolis from his native California, he worked as a Tour Coordinator at NTC, writing scripts for the company on the side. Frank hosted Kids News, an NTC educational video project launched in the early 90’s, and worked as a staff writer for the TV show, M@d About. Recently, he supervised Acting Out! — NTC’s first peer to peer anti-bullying program, coaching student groups from four Minnesota high schools. Frank’s quirky resume includes improvising with Comedy Sportz in the Twin Cities & LosAngeles; hosting the afternoon kids’ show, Club Fun TV on KMSP Channel 9; startling guests at Disneyland as Sally Mae, the Ugliest Girl in Frontier land; appearing on television in improv and sketch comedy based programs; and one of his favorite jobs — behind the scenes work on a game show hosted by Dick Clark, getting the chance to chat up Betty White, Ed McMahon, Rip Taylor, Dawn Welles, and Adam West. He even helped push the original TV Bat mobile when it died unexpectedly outside the soundstage! Currently Frank’s duties as NTC’s Manager of Product Development include work on marketing pieces, RFPs and grant applications while heading up the Business Development Call Center as well. He lives in the Loring Park area of Minneapolis and FINALLY has underground parking.

Jenny Pfarr

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Jenny Pfarr

Sales and Marketing Coordinator

Jenny came to NTC with years of experience in Business Administration, Office Management, and Accounting. She started at NTC as a sales caller and is now the Sales & Marketing Coordinator. Jenny is the gate keeper of our client database, produces calling campaigns, helps to train incoming sales callers, registers NTC to qualify for RFP’s, researches grant applications and pitches in where ever needed. Jenny lives in Minneapolis with her family. She enjoys the arts, photography, and spending time outside.

Bill Turner

IT Director

Bill Turner

IT Director

Bill Turner began working for NTC in 1995 as an actor. He was instrumental in developing characters for such shows asWhere in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and 2Smart 2Smoke. As an artistic associate, Bill began directing and building shows. As Technical Director, Bill managed set design and construction, prop design, costume development, and production budgets. He also served as Technical Producer forShakespeare in the Park. Bill also served as Director of Production, and General Manager of The National Theatre for Children. Bill currently manages the technical infrastructure at NTC.

Matt Levine

Representative, Client Services

Matt Levine

Representative, Client Services

Matt Levine started with NTC as a School Communications Representative in November 2016, and soon after made the move to Client Services. Working with corporate, government, and non-profit clients, he helps facilitate partnerships that bring educational opportunities to schools throughout the country while enhancing clients’ visibility in their communities. Outside of NTC, he is a novelist, screenwriter, freelance editor, and avid movie-watcher.

John Trones

Director of Production

John Trones

Director of Production

John Trones joined NTC in 2008 as a part-time employee in what was then known as the School Marketing Department, and later transitioned to a full-time tour coordinator in 2009. In 2011 Trones stepped into the role of the Director of School Communications where he coordinated the scheduling and communications efforts for thousands of schools and dozens of clients every school year. In 2017, John made the move to Director of Production where he oversees all aspects of Production for NTC. An avid musician and actor, Trones enjoys performing at a variety of venues when not at NTC.

Jon Mikkelsen

Artistic Director

Jon Mikkelsen

Artistic Director

Jon serves as Artistic Director at The National Theatre for Children. He began working with NTC in 1992 as a freelance performer, writer and director. He became an Artistic Associate in 1998 and Creative Director in 2004. He has written dozens of programs for NTC and was head writer on the nationally syndicated sketch comedy program, M@dAbout. During his free time, Jon writes and performs with various theatres in the Twin Cities. He has performed with Gaydar Productions, Outward Spiral and the Minneapolis-based comedy troupe HOT DISH and he co-founded 8 Ball Productions with John Trones. Jon is also an author, having published a five book series entitled We Are Heroes which explores how kids can volunteer and contribute to their communities.

Nate Metcalf

Technical Director

Nate Metcalf

Technical Director

Nate Metcalf has been one of the most active performers in NTC’s history. After 10 years on the road as a touring actor, Nate still holds the company records for most tours (over 50) and most performances (well over 4,000)! Even now that he’s in the office, he’s still a little hard to pin down. Serving as the Technical Director, Nate oversees the construction of all NTC’s props, costumes, and scenery. When not in the shop he can be found at his laptop working on the script for a new show, or staying in touch with his actors on the road. He has written (or co-written) 14 shows for NTC. Outside of the office, Nate can’t stop writing, turning his talents to scripting one-acts, ten-minute plays, and currently, his first full-length endeavor. He can also be found horsing around with several of the community theatres around town. A lover of all game shows and trivia contests, Nate had a moment in the sun when he went on the tv show Jeopardy! in 2007 and walked away with enough money to pay for his wedding to the Lovely Jolene. The two currently live at Fort Awesome, with their trusty guard dog, Spaghetti.

Joe Heaney

Casting & Company Manager

Joe Heaney

Casting & Company Manager

As the Casting and Company Manager, Joe is responsible for auditioning and hiring actors, directing troupes, maintaining and building relationships with actors, and helping to create new shows. He is also a talented writer and director. Joe began working with NTC as an actor in 2011 and started in School Communications in 2014 and most recently transitioned over to Production. Outside of NTC, Joe is a writer, director, film-buff, and baking enthusiast.

Jill Van Heel

Print & Design Manager

Jill Van Heel

Print & Design Manager

From small town treasures to some of the biggest names in retail, Jill Van Heel, NTC’s Print & Design Manager, has been thriving in the world of design for over twenty years – and what a ride it’s been. Jill has worked for some of the top retail companies in North America as well numerous print shops, newspapers, travel agencies, etc and believes design is much more than aesthetics. It’s a science, a strategy. There’s a method to the madness. Jill holds a BS in Graphic Design, AAS in Multimedia Technologies and a diploma in Commercial Art & Design and has had her hand in just about every type of project. In addition to NTC, Jill also works as a makeup artist for MAC, is addicted to lip gloss and has an extreme love for 80’s hair bands, country music and just about everything in between. She loves to see live music (has been known to travel over eight hours to see a show), collecting obscure items from the 80’s, traveling anywhere that isn’t hot and humid, is serious about her Diet Coke and Vanilla Iced Nirvana from Dunn Bros., laughing for no reason, doing arts and crafts when time permits, playing old school Super Mario Bros with her nephews and embracing her crazy cat lady status.

Morgan Marx

Digital Manager

Morgan Marx

Digital Manager

Morgan joined NTC's Production Department in 2015, as the Digital Manager. It's her job to create and manage NTC's web and multi-media materials. Besides her work at NTC, Morgan is a freelance videographer and an experimental cook/baker.

MaryLynn Mennicke

Director, School Communications

MaryLynn Mennicke

Director, School Communications

As Director of School Communications, MaryLynn oversees the team who coordinates NTC’s programs at schools across the nation and who are dedicated to providing a phenomenal experience for educators who work with us. MaryLynn is proud to be part of the mission of NTC in providing quality educational theatre to students – for FREE! MaryLynn started working at NTC in 2010, after several years freelancing as a performer and educator in the Twin Cities. In addition to her work at NTC, she currently serves as the Director of Music at a Lutheran church where she directs the choir and plays piano, cello and ukulele. She also is an avid world traveler. Her last tally: 5 continents and 19 countries visited!
1-800-858-3999 ext. 226

Evan Jackson

Production Writer & Coordinator

Evan Jackson

Production Writer & Coordinator

Evan started his career at NTC as a touring actor in 2014, completing seven tours over a three-year period before moving to the Twin Cities to fulfill the role of Production Writer and Coordinator. Prior to working full time for NTC, Evan worked for various companies and theatres across the Midwest and Eastern United States as an actor having done over 1,000 performances 17 different states. Evan is a native of Lafayette, Indiana and a graduate of Purdue University where he studied Mass Communications and Acting. Outside of the theatre world, Evan enjoys watching sports, playing sports and other games, doing crossword puzzles, and a strong cup of black coffee.

Ellen DeYoung

Outreach Manager, School Communications

Ellen DeYoung

Outreach Manager, School Communications

Ellen DeYoung has worked in the School Communications department at NTC since 2014. As the Outreach Manager, Ellen manages the team of staff that makes all outbound invitations to schools across the country to schedule NTC’s programs. Ellen studied Theatre and English at Dordt College. She also works as a professional stage manager, and her recent credits include productions with Mission Theatre, Market Garden Theatre, Lakeshore Players, Wayward Theatre, and Twin Cities Fringe Opera. In her spare time, she tries to find every cat meme on the internet and also enjoys coloring books for grown-ups.
1-800-858-3999 ext. 217

Kevin Albertson

Media Manager, School Communications

Kevin Albertson

Media Manager, School Communications

Kevin began working for NTC in 2013, working both in the School Communications department and touring as an actor. In his current role as Media Manager, Kevin oversees NTC’s web, social media and video offerings on behalf of the School Communications department. Prior to NTC, Kevin started a non-profit website dedicated to showcasing Minneapolis arts and culture through video, titled MPLS.TV. As a teacher and performer of improvisational theatre at Brave New Workshop and HUGE Theater, he manages to keep busy doing what he loves post 9 to 5. Kevin graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Madison with degrees in Theatre & Film, and to this day he cannot believe how fortunate he is to work in his field of study.
1-800-858-3999 ext. 212

Derek Meyer

Distribution Manager, School Communications

Derek Meyer

Distribution Manager, School Communications

Derek Meyer began his career at NTC as an actor in 2008 and performed in over 25 different shows, touring to schools across the country, through 2014. Since then, Derek has worked for the company in a variety of roles in the Production and School Communications departments. In his current role as Distribution Manager, Derek makes sure all program information and materials get to the schools in conjunction with their scheduled programs. He is a graduate of The University of Wisconsin – Green Bay with a degree in Theatre. When Derek isn’t at NTC, he can probably be found riding his bicycle, performing in a show, or baking something tasty.
1-800-858-3999 ext. 216

Mike Swan

Activation Manager, School Communications

Mike Swan

Activation Manager, School Communications

Mike is a New Jersey native who joined NTC School Communications in the winter of 2015. It’s his job to make sure that schools all over the country are ready and super-psyched to host our shows, and that our actors are in the right place at the right time. He received his B.A. in Theatre Performance from James Madison University. Besides his work at NTC, Mike is a freelance actor around the Twin Cities and an avid cyclist when it’s not winter (Minnesota gets really cold, don’t’cha know!) In fact, Mike rode his bike from coast to coast one time. It was super neat! If you get him on the phone, maybe he’ll tell you some stories.
1-800-858-3999 ext. 210

Daniel Vinitsky

Data Manager, School Communications

Daniel Vinitsky

Data Manager, School Communications

Daniel Vinitsky started working at NTC in 2015 in the School Communications department, calling schools and offering them the wonderfully funny and colorful plays we’ve all grown to know and love. In his current role as Data Manager, Daniel oversees the department’s database and software use, and implements various data organization systems. Daniel is also a professional actor and singer, and although he ironically has never toured with NTC, he regularly performs in many musicals and plays around the Twin Cities.
1-800-858-3999 ext. 230

Phil Ward

L.A. Operations Director

Phil Ward

L.A. Operations Director

Born and raised in the Midwest, Phil has lived in Los Angeles since 1983. He was a touring actor with NTC in the early 90s and at one time held the record for the most NTC performances. These days, when he's not casting and directing NTC tours for the Southwestern U.S., he can be found performing with the improv group ComedySportz Los Angeles, where he is the Managing Director. He is a longtime ensemble member at Theatre of Note in Hollywood, where he has served as an actor, director, writer, composer and musician. He has also written and directed plays for the Repertory Theater of America in Baltimore.

You can also see Phil in a handful of independent films, including Robert Altman's STREAMERS, and hear him on a handful of albums, including his live CD "Easily Amused," featured on the Dr. Demento radio show.

Alison Rigazio

Representative, School Communications

Alison Rigazio

Representative, School Communications

Alison is a School Communications Representative. She spends her time at NTC calling schools around the country, sending emails, and anything else that she is tasked with! In her free time she spends time acting around the Twin Cities, as well as seeing as many shows as she can. She loves knitting and spending time with any animal that will give her the time of day.

Andrew Jacobsen

Representative, School Communications

Andrew Jacobsen

Representative, School Communications

Andrew Jacobsen has been participating in various theatre communities for 11 years. He studied musical theatre at Minnesota State University Moorhead. In addition, Andrew has been seen in several positions in the Minneapolis theatre community. He has been a director, producer, actor…etc. Andrew is inspired to work for this impactful company and hopes that you too are inspired by the work of The National Theatre for Children.

Lindy Jackson

Representative, School Communications

Lindy Jackson

Representative, School Communications

As a School Communications Representative, Lindy dabbles in a variety of tasks—like scheduling schools via email, answering questions from teachers about program logistics, and helping get schools the materials and info they need to be fierce competitors in the My Energy Kit Challenge. Lindy studied Theatre Arts and Communication, Media & Rhetoric at the University of Minnesota, Morris. Outside of work at NTC, Lindy enjoys acting with local theater companies, traveling, and causing shenanigans. She’s also a fan of fur babies, Netflix binges, and living by the “Treat Yo Self” philosophy.

Olivia Hull

Representative, School Communications

Olivia Hull

Representative, School Communications

As a School Communications Representative, Olivia loves speaking with schools and educating them about all the programs that The National Theatre for Children has to offer. Olivia started with NTC as an actress, touring Cincinnati, Ohio as the beloved Nikki Neutron. Her second tour was across the state of Pennsylvania, where she and her tour partner taught elementary students all about the importance of conserving energy. She now spends her days at the NTC office in her hometown of Golden Valley, Minnesota. Olivia’s other loves include: her dog-nephew Rocco, spending time with friends, making music, and Jesus.

Shana Eisenberg

Representative, School Communications

Shana Eisenberg

Representative, School Communications

Shana began working at NTC in August 2016 as a School Communications Representative. Prior to working at NTC, Shana spent 15 years working in Veterinary Medicine while pursuing theatre on the side. Now, acting is Shana’s main pursuit while working at NTC and teaching children’s music at several synagogues and pre-schools around the Twin Cities metro. When not working, Shana loves spending time with her family and menagerie of dogs & cats at home.

Nik Whitcomb

Representative, School Communications

Nik Whitcomb

Representative, School Communications

Nik Whitcomb began his time with NTC in 2017 as a School Communications Representative and is consistently in awe of the work that NTC does for communities around the world! Nik is a native of Omaha, NE where he received his BA in theatre acting and directing from Creighton University. Nik is an actor, director and teaching artist and spent most of his time with the Omaha Theater Company for Young People (The Rose) before moving to the Twin Cities. When Nik is not inside of a theatre, he prefers to be watched by the television as he takes lengthy naps.

Erika Rosenkranz

Representative, School Communications

Erika Rosenkranz

Representative, School Communications

Erika Rosenkranz came to NTC in 2016 as an actor. She loved working with the company so much that she just had to be a part of the behind-the-scenes work as well and so became a School Communications Representative in 2017. Erika loves working at NTC because these shows remind her of the first performances that sparked her interest in acting as a child. Erika grew up in Grand Forks, ND, and graduated with a Theatre Arts degree in Performance and Directing from Minnesota State University of Moorhead. In her free time she enjoys seeing live music, being weird and trying to make people laugh.

Vance Dahl

Representative, School Communications

Vance Dahl

Representative, School Communications

Vance Dahl started at NTC in 2017 as a School Communications Representative, and is happy to assist in providing unique and influential ways of teaching students. Vance grew up in Moorhead, MN, and studied Music and Arts Administration at Winona State University. Vance also works as an Associate Director for the Land of Lakes Choir Boys. In Vance’s down time he loves singing, performing, playing board games and reading comics.

Amy Slothower

Representative, School Communications

Amy Slothower

Representative, School Communications

Amy Slothower joined the NTC team as a School Communications Representative in 2017, where she enjoys reaching out to schools across the country to introduce them to the magical world of educational theatre. From both Minnesota and New Jersey, Amy studied Theatre and Creative Writing at James Madison University in Virginia before moving back to the Twin Cities. She has worked professionally in various roles for theaters such as the McCarter Theatre Center, Mixed Blood Theatre Company and the Guthrie Theater. In her free time, Amy enjoys reading, going to concerts and finding new ways in which her body does not bend (also known as yoga).

Turi Jystad

Representative, School Communications

Turi Jystad

Representative, School Communications

Turi Jystad came to NTC in 2017 as a School Communications Representative and enjoys schedule performances that could change students’ lives for the better. Turi grew up in Zumbrota, Minnesota and studied Theatre Arts and Communication Studies at Southwest Minnesota State University. In the evenings, Turi works as a stage manager and has worked with Minnesota Fringe Festival, Mission Theatre Company, St Croix Off-Broadway Dinner Theater and the Children’s Theatre Company. She enjoys playing video games, reading and learning new yo-yo tricks on her days off.

Katie Pickett

Representative, School Communications

Katie Pickett

Representative, School Communications

Katie Pickett started with NTC in 2017 as a School Communications Representative. She loves informing schools about NTC’s awesome shows and helping them schedule performances. Katie spent the past five years in the heath/wellness industry, but now works combining two of her favorite things: helping people and theatre. She enjoys traveling and spending her free time reading, writing and seeing as many shows as she can at the wonderful theatres the Twin Cities have to offer.

Jacquelyn Jenson

Representative, School Communications

Jacquelyn Jenson

Representative, School Communications

Jacquelyn Jenson joined NTC as a School Communications Representative in 2017, and is scheduling performances at schools across the country. Jacquelyn studied Art and Humanities at the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Ecology. Jacquelyn also works as a self-employed glassblower, making art-glass pieces inspired by nature and dream-like wonder. In her spare time she likes to get creative through painting, drawing and baking. She also loves outdoor adventures, hiking, canoeing, kayaking and doing yoga.

John Kunik

Representative, School Communications

John Kunik

Representative, School Communications

John Kunik joined NTC in 2015 as a member of the School Communications team, reaching out to schools and scheduling programs, a position that makes good use of his past experiences in public relations, sales, teaching, and customer service. In addition to his departmental duties, John is also involved in several writing and client projects for NTC. When not at the office, John is active in the Twin Cities theatre scene as an actor and director as well as sharing his knack for stand-up comedy locally and at regional comedy festivals.

Grant Hooyer

Representative, Print Distribution

Grant Hooyer

Representative, Print Distribution

Grant Hooyer is the Print Distribution Coordinator for NTC. He is in charge of shipping and distribution of printed materials for the schools our actors visit. Grant has also been a touring actor for NTC, performing in shows like The Treasure Trove of Conservation Cove, Men in Plaid, and The Energized Guyz. Originally from Sioux Falls, SD, he graduated from Augustana College with B.A.’s in Psychology and Theatre. Grant moved to the Twin Cities in 2013 to pursue theatre, and has worked for various companies around town such as Theatre in the Round, Lyric Arts, and Artistry.

Alana LaBissoniere

Representative, School Communications

Alana LaBissoniere

Representative, School Communications

Alana started working for NTC in the fall of 2015 and she couldn’t be happier.  She has a background in theatre, arts administration, and retail, so working in school communications is a perfect fit!  She enjoys spending time with her husband and 2 sons.  When not travelling or working, she likes to perform in plays and musicals around the Twin Cities. 

Vincent Hannam

Representative, School Communications

Vincent Hannam

Representative, School Communications

Vincent has been with NTC since 2015, communicating with schools across the land and helping them know the ins-and-outs of the educational programs the company has to offer. Occasionally he’ll hang up the phone and hit the road, visiting with educators in person. He also gets involved creatively, contributing to the My Energy Kit Newsletter and directing shows. Born and raised in central Florida and earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the University of Central Florida, he now makes his home in St. Paul, Minnesota working as an artist and trying to get outdoors whenever possible.