About Metro


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 at metroplays dot 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 at metroplays dot org

Karen joined Metro Theater Company in 2011. Originally from Michigan, Karen delights in working with youth of all ages. She has taught with Northlight Theatre, Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, Emerald City Theatre Company, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, UCP of Central Florida and ArtsBridge America. Karen is also an adjunct professor in the School of Education at Maryville University. She combines her passions for arts education, community engagement and inclusive arts experiences to help realize the mission of Metro Theater Company. Her creative and research interests focus on arts integration, applied theatre with marginalized populations, theatre for social change, and professional development for teaching artists and pre-service and in-service teachers. She holds an MFA in Theatre for Young Audiences from the University of Central Florida and a BA in Theatre Arts from Michigan State University.

John Wolbers
Resident Teaching Artist
john at metroplays dot 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.

Renita James
Teaching Artist Fellow
renita at metroplays dot org

Renita James

Renita James hails from Georgia. She graduated from Valdosta State University with a degree in musical theatre. After graduation Renita moved to Atlanta where she has had much success as an actor and a theatre educator. Her favorite productions in the Atlanta area were: FML: How Carson McCullers Saved My Lifeand Unnecessary Monsters. Both of these productions dealt with bullying prevention, which is a topic near and dear to Renita’s heart. She has also had an amazing opportunity touring with educational productions across the country, educating America’s youth about energy conservation and theatre. Some of her favorite workshops she has taught include working with children who don’t have regular access to participating in the arts. She adores working with those children! Renita is incredibly excited to join Metro Theater as the Teaching Artist Fellow. She loves what the company stands for and is very passionate about theatre education and theatre for youth and families. She is looking forward to all of the adventures this year will bring her way!

Sarah Rugo
Production Manager
sarah at metroplays dot 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.

David Blake
Technical Director
davidb at metroplays dot org

David Blake

Technical Director: David Blake’s past work with Metro includes lighting design for Unsorted. Other St. Louis scenic design credits include Stray Dog Theatre’s The Great American Trailer Park Musical (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nomination), Spring Awakening, Gypsy, and Little Shop of Horrors (St. Louis Theatre Circle Nomination), Winning Juliet (Shakespeare Festival St. Louis), Kosher Lutherans (HotCity), and Mary Shelley Monster Show (Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble) David is also technical director for Clayton High School’s theater department.

David Warren
Development Director
david at metroplays dot 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 at metroplays dot 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.

Ron James
Marketing and Communications Director
ron at metroplays dot org

Ron James

Ron James has more than 25 years experience as a communicator, marketer and arts administrator.

Ron headed the marketing department for the Innsbrook Corporation for more than 20 years where he was responsible for external and internal communications, marketing and public relations for the corporation and the Innsbrook Property Owners Association.  Ron also cofounded and managed the Innsbrook Institute, an international Classical Music Festival and the Warren County Fine Arts Council. Ron also managed the Innsbrook Community life program which offered more than 100 events annually.

Ron graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia where he earned Bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and in Philosophy. Ron is and Eagle Scout and is a graduate of the Focus St. Louis Leadership program. He has served in numerous volunteer positions including Marketing Chair for the Webster University Leigh Gerdine College of Fine Arts and as Committee Chair for the Community Music School of Webster University Strategic Plan Committee.