Welcome to Christian Youth Theater!

Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts training program for students ages 4-17. Since its founding in 1980, CYT has grown to be the largest youth theater program in the nation, with Branches across the country training thousands of students a year. To learn more about CYT and to find out how to start CYT in your city visit www.cyt.org

Each Branch’s yearly calendar is made up of three ten-week sessions: Fall, Winter, and Spring. These sessions involve after-school classes in theater arts and the opportunity to audition and perform in a Broadway-style musical or work behind-the-scenes. Additionally, CYT offers a Summer session consisting of camps, workshops, and performance opportunities.

Christian Youth Theater develops character and creativity through quality theater arts training that brings families and communities together while reflecting Jesus.

  • Character over Competition 
  • People over Programs
  • Service over Spotlight 
  • Excellence over Ego

Paul and Sheryl Russell were teaching artists at Christian High in San Diego when they began a community theater from their 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 aspiring performers in San Diego’s local churches.

The families involved in this newly-founded 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 of their own and another one on the way, founded Christian Youth Theater (CYT). CYT began with 24 students producing the show You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and continued to grow throughout San Diego County.

In 1997 families from San Diego moved to Chicago, IL, and Spokane, WA. Their desire to have CYT in their communities motivated them to start their own local Branches under the CYT umbrella.

CYT has now grown to be the largest children’s theater organization of its kind, with Branches in several states. CYT trains more than 14,000 young people annually.

Theatre links with the very first response we have to the universe: the desire to play.

Annie Castledine

What does CYT San Diego offer?

CYT San Diego has various programs for people in all ages and stages of life. 
CYT partners with community leaders, volunteers, donors, and alumni to produce our year-round programming.  Check out the ways we engage the community of San Diego in our mission!

Statement of Diversity & Inclusion

CYT is passionate and committed to supporting, sustaining, and encouraging a safe, creative community where all are welcome, seen, and valued. All those participating at CYT are charged to hold to their personal convictions while simultaneously demonstrating grace and compassion to ALL they encounter, regardless of religious or political differences.

CYT is an educational nonprofit not associated with any specific church or denomination. All are welcomed and encouraged to participate and are not required to adopt any specific religious beliefs.

CYT is committed to creative and diverse programming, the continued development of practices and strategies that serve many unique needs, and the continued improvement and expansion of diversity in and for the CYT community.

Privacy & Purchase Policy

To learn more about Privacy and Purchase Policies, including cancelation policies, please visit our Privacy & Purchase Policy page

CYT San Diego

Mailing Address:
1545 Pioneer Way
EL CAJON, CA 92020

Phone: 619-588-0206
Office Address:
1545 Pioneer Way
EL CAJON, CA 92020

Office hours:
office hours vary - reach out for appointment time

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