Grant Freeman is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with an MFA in Theatre Pedagogy: Dramaturgy. He currently serves as the Group Head Coach of the award-winning Mount Vernon High School Speech Team. He has been involved with MVLCT since Middle School as a director, actor, producer, dramaturg, and designer. Grant’s theatrical focuses included community-driven social change, Shakespearean tragedy, classical adaptations, and experimental theatre. He is a proud board member and proud of the accomplishments the board has made in the past few years.
Kim Benesh has served on the board for many years, only once coming terrifyingly close to being board president. By day, she can be found as lead innkeeper at Cornell College’s Brackett House, manager of The Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill, and on regular occasion singing to small children in the group Balderdash Ditty, but her number one priority will always be her children and grandchildren. She is honored and feels great privilege to be serving on a board with such a generous and kind group of people committed to bringing the joy of theatre to our community and surrounding area.
Laura Werkman has been active with community theater since the first show that MVCT performed of “Oklahoma” in 1980. She served for over 20 years in every aspect of the board of directors & productions except musical director & choreography, since she can’t dance or read music! After a 10 year hiatus, she is excited to join the board of directors of MVLCT & to get involved in productions with this amazing group of talented & committed people.
Amy White has been involved with MVLCT since their 1998 production of Steel Magnolias. Her original plays and monologues (including Animal Facts, Drama at Dry Gulch Creek, and Someone Who Knew Her) have been performed by MVLCT and other groups. Amy believes in the power of live theatre to engage and educate everyone. A resident of Mt. Vernon, Amy is also the director of the Lisbon Public Library.
Joseph Williams has been on the MVLCT board since 2016 with his wife, Nikki Scheel, having originally started out in Publicity and Promotions including a total reworking of the MVLCT website within his first year. Still maintaining his web publishing duties, Joseph is thrilled to be assisting the theatre in the financial aspects as Treasurer. By day, Joseph is an Accounting Manager for VenuWorks of Cedar Rapids, and helps manage the financials for the US Cellular Center, the Paramount Theatre, the McGrath Amphitheatre, and the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. He is also co-owner of BIY Homebrew Supply in Marion and North Liberty. He and Nikki do not have any children with less than 4 legs. So far, there are four of them.
Publicity and Promotions Officers:
Mandy Moellering is a recent transplant to Mount Vernon, after living in North Liberty for 16 years. She is thrilled to be in a community that so completely embraces and celebrates the arts! Mandy and her husband Mike have three children-Max, Laila and Spencer. She is a preschool teacher at Bright Starts Preschool and part-time florist at Blooming Acres.
Nikki Scheel is a graphic designer by profession, so it is natural she would be on the board as a co- Publicity and Promotions officer. By day, she is the Marketing Assistant for VenuWorks of Cedar Rapids, and by night she is the Marketing Manger for MVLCT; designing all of their artwork, managing all of their social media, and ups the bar by handling all promotional photography. She loves her three fur babies and her one big man baby.
Board Members At Large:
William Croghan is a 15 year resident of the Mount Vernon/ Lisbon area. He lives there with his wife Christine, their two children having reached adulthood. A long tenured board member, he is involved primarily with set construction. He also appears on stage in every thing except musicals.
Eva Giacomo moved here from Oregon in 2016 and couldn’t be happier about it. She loves her job as a medical lab assistant in Surgical Pathology at Mercy Hsp. Her first experience with MVLCT was being cast in Middletown and she hasn’t missed being involved in a production since. She would like to thank her family for their unwaivering love and support and her father for taking her to her first audition and sitting with her so she didn’t run out of the building when no one was looking.
Wendy McClain is a teacher and speech coach at Prairie. A member of the Mt. Vernon community and a long time supporter and occasional actor for MVLCT she is pleased and proud to be a member of the MVLCT board. Most recently you catch a glimpse of Wendy back at the lighting panel or changing scenery between scenes but always active in the latest production.
Braden JP Rood has proudly been a member of the MVLCT board since 2005 filling various roles from actor to producer to set construction among many others—basically whatever needs to be done for the show! She also owns MY Studio and loves to volunteer in her beloved Mount Vernon. All of this is accomplished with the support of her amazing husband, Anton and her three boys, Jasper, Atticus and Chester.
Barb Shepley has been involved with costuming for the theatre for over 30 years. And it all started when she said she could sew! Although she has no formal training in costuming or design she not only does costumes for community theatre, but the high school and middle school as well. That’s at least 6 shows a year. She has also helped with other community and school projects over the years. A student once asked her why she does all this and her response was, “well, it’s not for the money.” But when she sees a person put on that costume and “become” their character, then it’s all worthwhile.
Past Board Members:
Richard Douglas and Betty McCleary