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, School Communications

John Trones

Director, School Communications

Ensuring that thousands of schools across the country successfully schedule performances each year is just one of John Trones’ responsibilities as the Director of School Marketing. Trones is responsible for a team of marketing experts that effectively and efficiently plan, map, and schedule each one of those performances to fulfill NTC’s client contracts. The School Marketing Department works closely with Sales & Marketing and Production to ensure that everyone from our actors to our clients enjoy a seamless and positive tour experience. Before joining the NTC team in early 2008, Trones enjoyed a twenty-plus year career in the airline industry holding a variety of positions within the customer service arena and inflight department, as well as positions within the internal inflight training department. Aside from his airline experience, John has an extensive professional background in the theatre, television and music industry as an actor, producer, writer and recording artist. John began his collegiate studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, and completed his degree work at the University of Minnesota graduating in 1985. Outside of NTC, John is well-known in the local and national music and theatre scene. He has recorded five albums and toured both nationally and internationally.

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 works as NTC’s Digital Manager, working with web and multi-media materials. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Film Production and Mathematics. In addition to working at NTC, Morgan works as a videographer, filming and editing videos for companies and entering 48-hour film festivals with friends. She also enjoys cooking, playing pool and darts, and spending time on the water sailing.

MaryLynn Mennicke

Director, School Communications

MaryLynn Mennicke

Director, School Communications

As a coordinator in the School Marketing department, MaryLynn is excited to bring NTC performances to schools and help out the teachers and administrators who call in to schedule. Since MaryLynn comes from a family full of teachers and artists, she is happy to join in with the wonderful mission of NTC and contribute to the education and livelihood of students across the country! Besides working at NTC, MaryLynn is a freelance theatre artist; she holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre and Music and she regularly acts, directs, sings, and teaches around the Twin Cities. MaryLynn also serves as a choir conductor at a Lutheran church in Bloomington, MN.
1-800-858-3999 ext. 226

Ellen DeYoung

Outreach Manager, School Communications

Ellen DeYoung

Outreach Manager, School Communications

Ellen DeYoung joined NTC as a Tour Coordinator in 2015, working to plan and oversee the performances that take place in schools across the country, as well as managing the school communication representatives. 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, Wayward Theatre, Twin Cities Fringe Opera, Artistry, and The Minnesota Fringe Festival. In her spare time she tries to find every cat meme on the internet, and also enjoys coloring books for grownups.
1-800-858-3999 ext. 217

Kevin Albertson

Media Manager, School Communications

Kevin Albertson

Media Manager, School Communications

As a School Communications Coordinator with NTC, Kevin Albertson is in contact with schools – as well as the actors who will be performing for them – across the country. Kevin also helps with social media at NTC. 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 and Film, and 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

As a Coordinator for School Communications Derek gets to make sure that the actors on the road, and the schools they are visiting, are prepared for each performance. Having performed in over 25 tours with NTC before he became a coordinator gives him some first-hand knowledge on what that requires. He earned a B.A. in Theatre from The University of Wisconsin Green Bay in 2006 and when he isn’t coordinating tours across the country he can usually be found devising, and performing in various productions in his own neck of the woods.  He is also an avid bicycle rider/commuter, always looking for new trails and highways to explore.
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 at NTC in 2015 as a scheduler, calling schools and offering them the wonderfully funny and colorful plays we’ve all grown to know and love. Now his responsibilities mainly include kit sign-up organization and evaluation, data management, and shipping assistance. Daniel is also a professional actor and singer, and although he has never toured with NTC, he participates 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.

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.