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

About CYT Phoenix

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 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.

Current Staff Members:

Stephanie Carpenter - Artistic Director

Stephanie has been with CYT Phoenix since 2010 when her children became involved in the program. Over the next seven seasons she worked on almost every facet of the program–from publicity and marketing to backstage and production design before becoming Artistic Director. She has three children with her husband of over 25 years and the whole family is involved in CYT. She has a BFA in graphic design and is a Zoni nominee for Set Design and Artistic Specialization. As a CYT Mom, she has a heart for the families that are the center of everything CYT does. As an artist, she has a passion for excellence in all of CYT Phoenix's creative endeavors.

Haley Gadbery - Business Manager

Haley has been a staff member and teaching artist for CYT Phoenix since 2016. She holds a Masters degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management from Grand Canyon University and currently works for the University as a Student Services Manager. In addition to many performance credits, Haley has been teaching dance for over a decade and has served as the choreographer for over 25 dance and musical theater productions. She has a passion for the arts, CYT's mission and the impact it has on the community, and is so excited to serve the organization on staff.

Elizabeth Cook - Show Coordinator

Elizabeth has a deep passion for Theatre Arts and is proud to be a part of CYT Phoenix. She has a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Theatre Education and taught in the public schools for many years before leaving the profession in 2010 to be a full-time mom. Elizabeth has worked professionally as a stage manager, prop master, set designer, and lighting designer. Since joining CYT, she has become a two time Zoni-nominated lighting designer and rediscovered her love of teaching students all aspects of theatre production. Elizabeth has two beautiful daughters and has been married to her husband for 13 years. She is a homeschool mom, and loves to quilt and tend to her rosebushes.

Have Questions?

Watch our Welcome to CYT music video!  

Our Story

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).

CYT Phoenix

Mailing Address:
13832 N 32nd St
STE 162
Scottsdale, AZ 85032

Phone: 480-310-0366
Office Address:
13832 N 32nd St
Phoenix, AZ 85032

Office hours:
Email is the most efficient way to reach our staff.

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