What is CYT?

Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts program training children in all aspects of the performing arts. Students ages 8-18 currently enrolled in the class session have the opportunity to audition for a Broadway-style production. Toward the end of each session, a fully-staged musical production is presented.

CYT stands in the forefront in its commitment to the highest ethical, moral, technical and artistic standards of excellence. Instructors are professionals, qualified in teaching and/or performing, who must understand our mission statement, values, objectives and goals. All CYT staff strive to be excellent role models.

How Does CYT Work?

CYT offers three sessions of theater arts classes for children ages 5-18 throughout the school year, in fall, winter and spring. Each session consists of weekly classes covering such topics as Voice, Dance, Drama, Music Theater, Improvisation, and more. Each class performs a “showcase” at the end of the session to show family and friends all that they have accomplished.

Enrollment in our classes also provides students ages 8-18 the opportunity to audition for the current production. Those students not cast are encouraged to participate in the production by being part of the backstage crew, helping to usher, helping with props, or assisting with hair or make-up. There are many ways to plug into a production. Parents of each student cast are required to serve on one of several production committees. Parents are asked to sign the audition form indicating their intent to commit themselves, as well as their children, to making the production a success.

In the summer, camps are offered where fun and games mix with learning and growing as everyone prepares for an end-of-week showcase to entertain and delight family and friends.

CYT is a family-oriented organization dedicated to providing entertaining activities centered around the family. Without the support of each parent, it could not offer the high quality productions it does.

CYT Wichita History

After initially visiting several Christian Youth Theater affiliates across the country, Linda McGinness, CYT Wichita's Artistic Director, gathered a Steering Committee together in January 2009 to explore the possibility of bringing CYT to Wichita, Kansas. In hope of generating interest in a Christian Theater group, a postcard invitation was distributed to area churches to attend an informational meeting. With the support of a team from Kansas City CYT, and to our delight, the building filled with over 200 interested people. Thus, the Steering Committee incorporated Christian Youth Theater Wichita as a 501(c)(3) in April 2009. CYT Wichita opened the summer of 2009 with 2 Broadway Kids Summer Camps; a June camp served 100 campers and the July camp reached capacity a month prior to camp with 130 campers! We were on our way!

Our first production in the fall of 2009, Robin Hood: The Musical, was cast with 36 students out of the 72 students registered for classes. In the winter, 110 students registered for classes and we had a cast of 42 who performed You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown. In the Spring of 2010 we exploded with over 175 students enrolled in class, and after auditioning 95 students, cast 75.

As of fall 2015, hundreds of families have experienced 20 Broadway-style Music Theater productions, 22 class sessions and 18 summer camps. Each season brings new shows and opportunities for more children and families to experience the wonder of theater.

The Board, Staff, and supporters of CYT Wichita wish to express a sincere thank you to the many hours of volunteer support parents and patrons contributed. CYT Wichita is here to stay!

CYT is claiming the arts for Christ.

Christian Youth Theater develops character and creativity in kids of all ages through quality theater arts training that brings families and communities together while reflecting the Creator.

CYT Wichita's Values

  • Treat each individual with respect and significance
  • Develop character traits including discipline, self-confidence and integrity
  • Bring families together through the use of individual talents and abilities
  • Share the love of Christ in word and deed


Statement of Faith

  • We believe the Bible to be the only inspired, infallible and authoritative Word of God.
  • We believe that there is one God eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
  • We believe in the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, and His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through the shedding of His blood, in His bodily resurrection on the third day, and His ascension to the right hand of the Father.

CYT's History

Paul and Sheryl Russell were both teachers 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 17 states. CYT trains more than 20,000 young people annually (as of March 2018).