About Metro

Staff

With a collective 85-plus years of experience in theater for young audiences among them, our staff brings a remarkable depth of passion and artistry to every aspect of our work.

Julia Flood
Artistic Director
julia at metroplays dot org

Julia Flood has more than 30 years of experience in the professional theatre as producer, director, playwright, actor and teacher. Most recently, Julia served as Producing Artistic Director of Eckerd Theater Company (ETC), a professional theater for young audiences based at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL. In her16 years at ETC, she commissioned, developed and produced many new works for young audiences including VOTE? by Eric Coble, and BATTLEDRUM by Doug Cooney with music by Lee Ahlin. A graduate of Northwestern University, Julia did post-graduate study with famed teachers Robert Lewis and Alvina Krause before spending 7 years as a resident member of the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Pennsylvania. A native of New England, she traveled throughout the US as a free-lance theater artist before settling in Florida in 1996. Julia is the author of more than a dozen produced plays for youth and family audiences, including THE SNOW QUEEN, music by Lee Ahlin (Eldridge Press 2000) and THE GREAT ALPHABET ADVENTURE (Anchorage Press Plays 2010). Julia is a member of Actors’ Equity Association and Dramatists Guild and serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of TYA-USA, the US chapter of the International Association of Theater for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ).

To learn more about Julia, click here.

Matthew Neufeld
Managing Director
matt@metroplays.org

Matt joined the Company in 2009 with an eclectic background as an arts manager, administrator, consultant, teaching artist, director, and actor.  A St. Louis native, Matt was first drawn to theater after seeing Metro Theater Company’s production of Beowulf.  Prior to coming to the Company, Matt served as the assistant to the managing director at Hartford Stage (CT), where he worked closely with the board of directors, helped coordinate a capital campaign, organized its new work festival, and developed an improvisational training program.  Matt is a graduate of the Tisch School of the Arts in New York University, and a graduate of the Field’s Artist-Manager Partnerships Program.

Karen Weberman
Education Director
karen@metroplays.org

Karen joined the Company in 2011.  Originally from Michigan, Karen delights in teaching youth of all ages.  Prior to joining Metro Theater Company, she served as Outreach Manager at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, where she designed and facilitated arts-based residencies and workshops in schools and community organizations throughout Chicago and the Northwest suburbs.  She has taught with Northlight Theatre, Emerald City Theatre Company, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, UCP of Central Florida, and ArtsBridge America.  Her creative and research interests focus on creative community engagement, devising theatre with youth, and professional development for teachers.  With a strong commitment to accessibility and the arts, she remains passionate about exploring drama and theatre with persons with disabilities.  She earned her M.F.A. in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida in sunny Orlando, and a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Michigan State University.

John Wolbers
Resident Teaching Artist
john@metroplays.org

John joined the Company in 2012 after working with Metro Theater Company in various capacities onstage, backstage and as a freelance teaching artist. Previously he served for four years as the Youth Theatre Coordinator and Camp of the Arts Director for the St. Louis Jewish Community Center. In addition, John has worked in the St. Louis region as a teaching artist, actor, director and playwright. A transplant from the Lone Star State, he earned his B.F.A. in Theatre Performance from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.

Nicholas Kryah
Resident Artist / Technical Director
nick@metroplays.org

Nick joined the Company in 1977. He has directed, designed, or performed in every production the Company has mounted in the past 33 years.  Nick wrote the Company’s acclaimed adaptation of Beowulf (1990), A Short Hike on a Long Trail (1998), Iceman (2000), and Stix & Stonz (2005). A versatile theater artist with backgrounds in music, movement and design, he also has been a teaching artist for ArtsINTERsection, Young Artists’ Theater Lab, and Reaching All the Learners Through the Arts. Nick holds an M.A. in Dramatic Theory, Literature and Criticism from Michigan State University and a B.A. from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University.

Sarah Rugo
Production Manager
sarah@metroplays.org

Sarah joined Metro Theater Company in 2004. Originally from Pennsylvania, Sarah completed her B.F.A. in Music Theatre from Shenandoah Conservatory in Virginia. After graduation, Sarah had a year-long stage management internship at Lexington Children’s Theatre in Kentucky.  Prior to starting her duties at Metro Theater Company, Sarah served as Production Stage manager for two seasons at Shenandoah Summer Music Theatre.

Nancy Tonkins
Audience Development Director
nancy@metroplays.org

Nancy joined the Company in 2007 with a background in marketing, advertising, sales, and management.  For more than 20 years, she worked for Bradburn School Supply, serving the educational community of St. Louis and the surrounding region.  During that time, she become the director of advertising and then went on to work with a number of regional and national advertising agencies, as well as Fortune 500 companies.  Nancy earned her B.A. in Art and Education from William Woods University.  Her work with schools, young people, and the arts has continued to be her passion and inspiration.

David Warren
Development Director
david@metroplays.org

David joined Metro Theater Company in 2008. His background includes education, communications, marketing and sales, and fundraising.  David served for almost a decade on the staff of the Catholic Health Association of the United States, where he managed the website, developed communications and marketing for the annual meeting, and directed the corporate fundraising program. David has also taught writing and literature at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, served on the development team for computer-based education in data modeling at agpw, inc., and managed proposal development at Towers Perrin. David received his B.A. in Writing Seminars from the Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Maria I Straub
Operations Coordinator
maria@metroplays.org

Maria joined Metro Theater Company in 2012. She has been working in the St. Louis region as a Stage Manager, Choreographer and Box Office Manager since 2006. She was the resident Stage Manager for the Orange Girls for two seasons (2008-2009)  and was part of the inaugural year for the St. Louis Actor’s Studio (2007-2008). Before joining Metro Theater Company, she was Arts and Education Council for three years in a variety of jobs, including Operations and Development. She is Co-Chair of the Arts Round Table (alongside Susan Donahue Yates) and proudly serves at the company secretary for the Tin Ceiling, where she produces their annual Seven/24 Playwriting Festival over Memorial Day Weekend.

Lauren Smith
2013-14 Teaching Artist Fellow (TAF)

Lauren is thrilled to join Metro Theater Company for the current season. Her previous experience includes Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and Children’s Theatre Company, as well as serving on stage management teams at Washington National Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis. Most recently, Lauren worked as the Education Coordinator for Great River Shakespeare Festival in Winona, Minnesota. She holds a B.F.A in Stage Management from Webster University.