What is Christian Youth Theater?

Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts training program for students ages 4-18. 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.

Each Branch’s yearly calendar is made up of three ten-week sessions: Fall, Winter,and Spring. These session involves 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.

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 understand our mission statement, values, objectives, and goals.

Mission & Values

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.

  • 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

“There are a lot of kids learning integrity who will bring it into their communities later in life.”

CYT Director


Every year, CYT National works with local communities to bring branches to new cities. As CYT grows, so does the impact of our organization on future leaders of our nation and world.

Current Staff Members:

Kara List

National Director
My name is Kara List and I currently live in Fredericksburg, VA. My favorite thing to do on the weekend is to go to our local farmer's market to meet up with friends with my husband and kids. Foods I always avoid are avocado and mushrooms. I am unfortunately allergic, and it's a pretty sad thing. Thankfully, I have amazing things in my life that compensate for the lack of guacamole, like CYT! I love CYT because God continues to use the work of this organization to unify communities and families in a way that is life giving and life changing. I consider it an absolute gift to work for CYT.

Karen Smith

National Administrator
My name is Karen Smith and I currently live in Jacksonville, FL. When not at the beach, my family and I can be found riding bikes around the Navy base we live on or playing in the backyard with our Goldendoodle, Dunkin. I love CYT because CYT’s mission is distinctively different from any other youth theater program. CYT provides a safe, loving family environment where through the arts, kids can learn more about the Creator who created them and loves them. I feel blessed to be able to support CYT Branches across the country to complete that mission.

Paul Stine

Design Lead
My name is Paul Stine and I currently live in San Diego, CA. My favorite thing to do on the weekend is most likely dancing or performing in a show...(when not in a pandemic)...or choreographing something! I also love a good Netflix binge watch. My favorite food is definitely pizza. I hope you don’t think I’m basic. I joined CYT over 20 years ago and I love it because it has transformed me into, not only the performer I am today, but the person I am today. I hope to continue to help transform performers and people in the future of CYT.

Tyler Hutchinson

Branch Community Lead
My name is Tyler Hutchinson and I currently live in Dallas, TX. My favorite thing to do on the weekend is to go to a show or concert! I love a nice night of dinner and entertainment..I haven't been able to do that thanks to the Rona. So, I do shows in my own house. Foods I try to always avoid is basically all the green stuff. I'm getting better but I'm not there yet. Don't judge. I love CYT because it's a beautiful representation of transformative power of the arts. I'm beyond excited to join the National Team and grateful for the opportunity to serve!

Tonja Rainey

Branch Connection Lead
My name is Tonja Rainey and I currently live in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. My favorite thing to do on the weekend is to go downtown to the farmer's market with my husband and meet up with friends. A food I try to always avoid is coconut, in any form. I'm not allergic to it, I just really don't like to eat it. One of the things I love about CYT is that it's a place where I get to be inspired by kids when they rise to a challenge, when they open their hearts to new friendships, and when they walk in the gifts and talents that God has given them. I am so honored to be on the CYT National team and I can't wait to get to know each and every one of the leaders around the nation.