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Christian Community Theater

CCT's History

Paul & Sheryl Russell, both teachers at Christian High, began a community theater in their family garage in the summer of 1980. The show was The Sound of Music. The purpose was to provide a vehicle for talented amateur performers from the local San Diego community. 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. The audience enjoyed it anyway though, 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 in 1986 and South County in 1987. Other areas soon followed and now CYT is located in 5 areas around San Diego county with an annual enrollment of 4,625 students who take classes, participate in shows and attend summer theater camps.

Over time, some CYT families moved from San Diego to other areas of the U.S.
Their desire to have CYT in their community motivated them to work towards developing the same program in their local cities, thus giving rise to our national group, CYT Inc. in the Fall of 1997.

CYT nationally has grown to be the largest children’s theater organization in the country with more than 38 locations in 22 different cities and enrolling 18,000 students annually.

What is a CYT Portland Gala?

     Each year Christian Youth Theater Portland produces an exciting "Immersive Dinner Theater Fundraiser" you won't want to miss. It all began in 2014 when  CYT Portland presented its first  annual Gala at the Columbia River Yacht Club with, "Puttin' on the Ritz". As our guests entered the "Ritz Club" they found themselves in the 1930s where they met characters like Charlie Chaplin, Abbot and Costello, and heard the lovely songs of that era.  In 2015 the theme was, " CYTV Presents: A Tribute to 60's Television" where guests walked back in time through a giant television into the 1960's where they watched Nancy Sinatra perform her famous song, "These Boots are Made for Walkin'". watched "Get Smart" and the Beatniks preform dances to " That Thing You Do" and "You Can't Stop the Beat". 

Our 2016 theme will be announced this June so check back with us. If you are interested to be part of the Gala Planning Committee please contact Theresa VanWetten @ 503-351-0568.

To get a better idea of what you will be in for this year take a look at last year's photos on our gallery page!


CYT@School  —  After school theater experiences for kids.

CYT@school is a program of CYT Portland that introduces the performing arts to children, one school at a time, by providing a high-quality experience that is educational and enjoyable.

Many schools have had to cut their arts programs so CYT@school is dedicated to bringing to your school a low-cost, theater arts training program tailored to the needs of each school. Research has shown that performing arts helps students gain confidence, build leadership skills and develop a sense of community. CYT wants to ensure that students everywhere have an opportunity to experience theater arts.

Our program consists of 8-10 weeks of drama, ... READ MORE

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