Jo'Lisa Jones

Jo'Lisa Jones (she/her), Artistic Director

Jo'Lisa brings her experience as an NYC actor and theatre activist to her work as Artistic Director. She is recognized for her creativity, dedication to diversity, equity and inclusivity, and fostering relationships with innovative artists. Jo'Lisa has performed with many NYC theaters and partnered with organizations that specialize in elevating the voices of marginalized communities. She has used applied theatre to work closely with people of all races, genders, and neuro-diversities. Jo'Lisa co-founded and now is President of the Board of EMIT Theatre Company. She is passionate about continuing to build a safe, inclusive, innovative and educational mainstages community.

Matt Dorter

Matt Dorter (he/him), Director of Strategic Partnerships

Matt is a seasoned camp and theater professional with over 20 years staff experience at both day and resident camps. Matt graduated New York University's Tisch School Of The Arts with degrees in Theater and Applied Education and served as Company Manager of the New Acting Company in New York City.

Matt has toured with the National Theater for Children and has written, directed, and produced over 150 shows for children. Matt is a consultant on theatrical services for summer camps and is a presenter for the American Camp Association on theatrical best practices.

Matt is proud to be a founding member of the mainstages team and is passionate about the goal of using creativity to inspire social action and foster youth development through theatrical arts.

Courtney Cook Naftz

Courtney Cook Naftz (she/her), Director of Programming

Courtney brings her passion and creativity to the role of Director of Programming, where she leads the programming division overseeing and creating innovative year-round school and nationwide summer camp programs. For the past 15 years, Courtney has worked as a professional actress performing and touring with Regional Theater companies, has worked Off-Broadway and in Television and Films. She has developed virtual and in-person Theater programming for children, worked as a Teaching Artist within the NYC School District and is an Acting Coach for both youth and adult actors. She is excited to bring her experience and passion for children's theater education to mainstages. Her main goal is to create inclusive and engaging programming that creates a safe space for children of all ages and backgrounds to expand their creativity and imaginations.

Sara Hymes

Sara Hymes (she/her), Director of Performances

Sara brings almost 15 years of experience as a theatre creator, collaborator, and educator to her work as Director of Performances. After earning a BFA in Musical Theatre, a Certificate of Advanced Theatre Training with the Moscow Arts Theatre School, and an MFA in Acting, Sara has been performing in professional regional and New York City theatres, national commercials, and as a long-time ensemble member with Brooklyn's Hedgepig Ensemble Theatre. She has developed and facilitated virtual and in-person professional leadership programming, and has taught and directed young actors in camps and educational programs at American Shakespeare Center, Mary Baldwin University, and Elm Shakespeare Company. Sara truly believes in the power of live performance to develop and promote empathy, imagination, and community.

Samantha Beneventano

Samantha Beneventano (she/her), Program Manager

Samantha Beneventano is a Choreographer, Dancer, and NYC-based teaching artist. She has performed at City Center, 92nd St. Y, Tribeca PAC, and DUMBO Dance Festival. She graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Dance from Queens College. Upon graduation, she received the Farah Marcelus Award for Choreography and the Edward M. Greenberg Musical Theatre Award. In 2013, Samantha was an artist-in-resident at the Kupferberg Center in the inaugural CUNY Dance Initiative program. Her work has been shown at Dixon Place, The Secret Theatre, The Tilles Centre for the Performing Arts and Greenspace. Samantha is an educator at her high school alma mater and is now directing and choreographing elementary and middle school productions. She's motivated by her students' growth and passion throughout the creative process. Watching students find their confidence, hone their skills, and learn to trust themselves has been incredibly fulfilling. Samantha is thrilled to join the mainstages team!

Maggie Connick

Maggie Connick (she/her), Program and Performance Coordinator

Maggie brings her excitement, compassion, empathy, and passion for theatre in all of her performances and class rooms. She has been a theatre educator and performer for three years where she has done activities in the classroom such as: devised original plays, put on full length production, improvisation, movement specialties, and voice training. She has traveled to many different states and countries teaching children and pushing them too reach a goal and grow together. While she really loves implementing theatre techniques she also focuses on bringing ethics, discipline, confidence, and a fun experience to her students. Maggie has also performed and directed in theatre’s such as The Tank, Frigid, Theatre for New York and other’s. She has traveled with Missoula Children’s theatre where she was an actor and director around the country. She brings her knowledge of the professional industry to all of her classrooms and performances. She is excited to make a difference in her student’s life!

Eva Casey

Eva Casey (she/her), Marketing and Engagement Strategist

In her role as Marketing and Engagement Specialist, Eva focuses on social media, digital content creation, and brand management. Since March 2020 she has been helping innovate mainstages' virtual offerings - with a pivotal role in the creation of our new digital products. Previously, in Eva's role as Program and Performance Coordinator, she managed a wide variety of projects for the company. She has also been a Teaching Artist and Performer with mainstages since 2018. Currently, Eva performs and teaches for our remote programs and performances, specializing in anything for younger audiences that requires a fun character or puppet.