About CYT

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.

CYT was brought to Santa Cruz in 2010. 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 and Values

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


CYT offers classes for students ages 4-18 throughout the school year. Classes include drama, voice, dance, and behind-the-scenes training in makeup, costumes, tech, and more. Classes are held for two hours once a week and run for ten consecutive weeks in Fall, Winter, and Spring sessions. Class sizes are small and offer supervision both inside and outside the classroom. Each session culminates in a high-energy showcase to demonstrate to family, friends, and fellow students the skills acquired.

Parents send their children to CYT classes to learn, and that’s exactly what they will do! At the end of a CYT session, your student will come away with a new or improved skill in the area of emphasis. During the last week of class, a high-energy Showcase is presented by each class to show other students, family, and friends all they’ve learned.


Enrollment in CYT classes provides students ages 8-18 the opportunity to audition for the current production. CYT Chapters produce one Broadway-style musical each session (Fall, Winter, and Spring). Students who want to be part of the show without performing can participate on the backstage crew, technical team, or as an usher.

CYT shows are always appropriate for the entire family and are an excellent way to introduce children to the arts at a young age!


During the summer, CYT Branches put on week-long musical theater day camps for students ages 4-18. Camps are designed to be a fun and energetic immersion into the world of musical theater. Camps are jam-packed with games, activities, and interactive workshops that build performance skills, self-confidence, and teamwork. Typical camps include team competitions; rotations through drama, dance, and music workshops; and a concluding showcase for family and friends. Some Branches host overnight camps for older students. Through praise, worship, prayer, and daily devotions, CYT teen camps are particularly focused on spiritual growth.

CYT Summer Camps are all about fun, friendships, and theatrics. Camps are great yearly tradition for your child!


There are many ways to be part of CYT beyond the stage! CYT programs consist of everything that is not a class, camp, or show. Some of the available programs include CYT@school, CREATE, and more.

CYT Santa Cruz

Mailing Address:
216 Mt. Hermon Rd Suite E
PMB 231
Scotts Valley, CA 95066

Office Address:
115 S Morrissey Ave
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Contact Us

Current Staff Members:

Brooke Novak

Brooke is delighted to return to CYT Santa Cruz. She brings a wealth of experience as an actor and teacher.

Denise Ahlstrom

Denise is honored to serve CYT Santa Cruz as the Managing Director. Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, His compassions never fail. They are new every morning, great is Your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22,23

Layne Ahlstrom

Layne is honored to be the Area Coordinator for CYT Santa Cruz. She is passionate about youth theater and development alongside a love for Creating in musical theater. She also brings 4 years of experience as a Project Manager in Public Engagement.

Teresa Dettle

Teresa heads up a team that runs all of our productions like clockwork. She brings a deep love for God and a gift for leadership to our staff.

Ana Bevir

Ana is a CYT Santa Cruz parent and our Class Coordinator.

Tamara Dunton

Tamara is excited to join the CYT Santa Cruz Staff as the Assistant Managing Director and bookkeeper.

Jennifer McPherson

Jennifer is excited to be joining the CYT staff. Her family has been part of CYT for the last 4 years. Her children have grown in confidence and character through the community and support that can be found at CYT. Jennifer looks forward to serving the people who have embraced her family and made a difference in their lives. Isaiah 43:1

Jodie Couchman

Jodie has been a member of staff for the past few years and her guidance through the challenges of the last two years has been a true blessing to CYT Santa Cruz.