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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Theater group provides outlet for all

    Savannah Douglas
    Savannah Douglas / The Daily Wildcat Lisa Spurlin, Caroline Spurlin and Ray Frieders, all volunteers for Christian Youth Theater, stand on the island of the Lost Boys set piece for the upcoming “Peter Pan” play. Caroline Spurlin will play Wendy, Lisa Spurlin is designing many of the costumes and Frieders is a public relations volunteer for CYT.

    Christian Youth Theater sets the stage for success for children and their teachers alike, with lessons on how to handle everything from auditions to the final curtain call.

    CYT is a nonprofit program that offers courses on all theater topics, from an introductory class for 5- to 7-year-olds leading up to a stunts and combat class for ages up to 18.

    The classes are taught by community volunteers. Ray Frieders, public relations volunteer for the program said that because classes are non-denominational and focus solely on quality and the benefit for the children, a large number of people volunteer their knowledge and experience to the group.

    Children who enroll in classes can then audition for any of the three plays that are put on during the year, working together to build the production from the ground up.

    The kids benefit in many ways from the program.
    “It’s not a babysitter,” Frieders said. “It’s a place to learn and fit in.”

    For many of the kids, the confidence and poise they gain from the program is something that can help them through school, as well as later in life.

    “Our mission is to help instill self-confidence and self-esteem in the kids, while also teaching them responsibility, teamwork, and accountability while working towards a common goal,” said Kathy Theurbach, executive director of CYT, in an email.

    Another unique aspect of the program is the opportunity for growth. For a child to be able to join at age 5 and stay in the program into adulthood, then return as a teacher, means there are countless opportunities to get involved and stay involved.

    “People come from all over Arizona to participate,” Frieders said.
    The courses lead up to the major productions put on by the troupe. Everything from the design to the drama is a product of the children’s efforts. It truly is a youth theater group but it is of a spectacular quality due in part to the passion of everyone involved.

    Outside of the regular courses during the year, CYT also offers summer camps. This year’s themes are “Camp Frozen” (ages 5-7 and 7-12), “Tangled in Tucson” (ages 5-7 and 7-12) and “Hairspray Jr.” (ages 11-21), ensuring summer fun for all ages.

    Frieders said CYT is particularly in need of orchestra and technical theater production teachers for areas like set and costume design. The next CYT production will be “Peter Pan,” the timeless story of the boy who never wanted to grow up — and perhaps a magical way to say goodbye to college and hello to a little growing up.

    The show opens on May 15 at 7 p.m. at Crowder Hall in the Music building on the UA campus, and will run through May 18. The matinees for performances on May 17 and 18 have already sold out. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased online at

    “It’s amazing what you see when you come to a show,” Frieders said.
    “You just have to see it to get it.”

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