Once Upon a Time...

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).

Mission Statement

Mission Statement
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

Welcome to Christian Youth Theater

Christian Youth Theater (CYT) is an after-school theater arts training program for students ages 5-18. 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 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.
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.

CYT changed my life. It was the first place I ever felt like I belonged and the most supportive relationships I have were through CYT. It finds potential and wakes it up with an alarm clock (the real loud, ridiculous kind)

D'Artagnan Elliott


CYT offers classes for students ages 5-18 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 5-18. 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!

Current Staff Members:

Ashlie Driver

Ashlie’s family has been heavily involved with CYT/CCT since her daughter was invited by a friend to attend the Newsies camp in the summer of 2013. From that point on, they were hooked! Over the years, Ashlie has served as Director, Vocal Director and Teacher for our shows, camps and classes. She is honored and humbled to serve as Artistic Director for CYT Houston because she is a firm believer in the mission of Claiming the Arts for Christ! Together, she and Bev work to provide quality programming, polices and procedures for the CYT Houston families. In addition, Ashlie has worked in Worship and Music ministry for over 18 years and taught choir and music at both the elementary and high school level for 10 years. She is currently the Music Director for Klein United Methodist Church. Ashlie has a Bachelor of Music in Music Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a Masters in Music Education from the University of Houston.

Bev Schulz

Beverly has a PhD, MA and BA in various studies, decades of experience teaching online classes for various universities across the nation as well as long record of managing small businesses. In addition, Bev has a history with CYT as a parent in years past, when her son was young enough to participate, so she understands how CYT operates. Bev works alongside Ashlie to develop policies and plans for CYT Houston, and has a specific emphasis on finance, marketing, development, general administration, and human resources.

Mary Ramsower

Mary's family has been a part of CYT Houston since the Spring of 2008. She began working as the Summer Camp Coordinator in the summer of 2010 and then became a Show Coordinator for 2 years. She was the Managing Director for 3.5 years and is now the Branch Administrator.

Jeannie Bailey

My family began attending CYT shows in 2007 and has been involved with the organization since 2012. I started coordinating shows in 2015 and I'm blessed to work with so many wonderful friends! God has given me a love for planning and organization and I am always grateful when He miraculously brings everything together! My heart is full every time a cast sings praise and worship before every show and gives credit to God as the curtain falls. With classes and shows, CYT truly is "developing character...one stage at a time".

Robyn Flanery

Thankfully, my family and I heard about CYT through a friend, and my son was in his first show in 2011. Thus began our journey with CYT Houston. I am Chapter Coordinator for the East branch and I have had the privilege to class coordinate and show coordinate for 6 years. Being part of the CYT community is a blessing and I am thankful for the opportunity. I consider it a gift to be able to spend my time with so many wonderful people. I love having a front row seat in watching the students grow in character and in talent. It is quite amazing! 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Crystal St James

Crystal is a native Texan and Houstonian who loves Jesus, her husband, 3 handsome sons and 2 mischievous dogs. Serving alongside her local church family and community of friends that are like family with Christian Youth Theater Houston are some of the great joys of her heart. She counts it as an honor and privilege each time an offer to coordinate a show for CYT Houston is extended. Crystal is an active member of Bible Study Fellowship International, enjoys reading historical fiction novels, cooking and holds Matthew 6:33 close to her heart.

Stacey Brednich

Hello! My name is Stacey Brednich and although I am originally from Alabama, I am happy to call Texas my home. I have two degrees in education and spent around 15 years teaching in a mix of public and private schools. I even had the honor of teaching a year in Uganda. I am currently homeschooling my two daughters, Marin and Hollis, and love every minute of it. Many years ago, I had the pleasure of being an assistant director for a few middle school productions like James and Giant Peach and Jungle Book. Theater is a true joy and I am so excited to give your little ones a glimpse into the stage!

Dawn Leal

In the Fall of 2010, as a new home school mom, I found what has become a second family for our children. It has been a blessing to watch our kids use their gifts on and off the stage, while growing in a Godly community. I have been a class coordinator for CYT Houston for a few years and it has been such a joy to watch students blossom from little Our Gang kids to amazing performers in our advanced classes. My other passion outside of my family is being a youth minister. I have been blessed to lead mission weeks for teens, along with my family, for the last 20 years. "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Jamie Hawley

Jamie Hawley and her family have been involved with CYT Houston since 2014. She has been both a member and the chair of the costume committees for shows like Mary Poppins, Anything Goes, and Shrek Jr.
Prior to becoming a CYT staff member, Jamie spent years serving as Events Coordinator and Core Staff member for several programs with the Girl Scouts of San Jacinto Council.
While both of her children have aged out, Jamie enjoys continuing to work for CYT Houston as camp coordinator.

Dee Willis

I have been a part of CYT since 2010 when my daughter joined this wonderful organization. She is now all grown up with kids of her own and I'm so happy to still be with CYT! I have a Bachelor's Degree in Music in Therapy from Sam Houston State University and I LOVE to sing! During the past 9 years I have been honored to serve at CYT in the capacity of Costumer, Teacher, Director, Vocal Director, Tour Group Director, Show Coordinator, and CYT@school Coordinator. I'm so blessed that God has given me the opportunity to work with so many talented individuals and to share His love with others through CYT!

Diana Horn

Diana has been sewing since she was 4 years old. She has garnered numerous associates degrees from Houston Community College in Costuming and Design. She has been volunteering with CYT Houston since 2010-2011 season, and was then offered a staff position in January of 2014. She is married to the HYPE Advisor David Horn, and their son, Lucius, loves attending all the CYT shows and camps! She is very blessed to have this position and loves what she does.

Christine Tonkin


Christina Kruse

We were lucky to find CTY in 2016. We watched Willy Wonka and Little Mermaid before my then 11-year-old musician, said he wanted to give it a try. We signed up for Harry Potter summer camp, then a couple years later my youngest son got involved. I can honestly say I don’t know what my family would do without our CYT friends, myself included. I feel very lucky to be allowed to work for an organization that has brought my family so much joy! I’m happy that my 20 plus years in accounting will contribute to the growth of such an amazing organization.

Contact Us

Mailing address:
CYT Houston
1010 Spring Cypress Rd. #218
Spring, TX 77373

Christian Youth Theater Houston

Mailing Address:
1010 Spring Cypress Road
# 218
Spring, TX 77373

Phone: 281-580-4298

Contact Us