CYT is Acadiana’s branch of a successful national youth theater franchise, working with kids to create a deeper sense of values, creativity, commitment and collaboration through the dramatic process.
This special event is CYT’s first annual gala, showcasing excerpts form their most successful productions.
History on CYT
Paul & Sheryl Russell, both teachers at Christian High, began a community theater in the family garage. It was the summer of 1980 and the show was The Sound of Music. The purpose was to provide a vehicle for talented amateur performers from San Diego's local churches. All performances were held atop beautiful Mt. Helix in La Mesa. The sets were made from cardboard and the lighting was mounted on sawhorses which created scary shadows on the faces of the actors. But the audience enjoyed it anyway wanting more so an annual tradition began.
One year later, in 1981, the parents of this newly found organization Christian Community Theater (CCT) asked Paul and Sheryl to start an after-school theater arts program for their children. Paul and Sheryl with two small children and one on the way birthed another child, Christian Youth Theater (CYT). It began with 24 students producing the show; You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.
CYT continued to grow in San Diego County, as parents wanted CYT closer to their neighborhood. Programs opened in Escondido in1986 and South County in 1987. Other areas soon followed and now CYT is located in 9 areas around San Diego and Temecula Valley with an annual participation of 4,000 students who take classes, participate in shows and attend summer theater camps.
Families from San Diego moved to Chicago, Illinois and Spokane, Washington.
Their desire to have CYT in their community motivated them to work towards having
CYT in their cities and thus the birth of CYT-USA took place in the Fall of 1997.
CYT-USA has now grown to be the largest children’s theater organization in America
with branches in 13 states and 31 programs.
Annually CYT-USA trains more than 10,000 young people ages 4-18.