EXPO 2015: The Student Experience


Are you a CYT student age 12-19? If so, what are you doing June 21-24? If you said “attending CYT’s EXPO“, then you win a gold star! Read on below to learn more about what you get to do during EXPO!

All CYT students, ages 12 – 19, are invited to come to EXPO. Some students may be involved in HYPE or Improvathon, but those are just portions of the whole student experience that takes place at EXPO. When HYPE and IMPROV are not taking place, those students are encouraged to join their other fellow CYT students in fun activities, workshops, free time and more!

Here’s a spattering of just some of the Special Events/Workshops we have in store for you! Check out the EXPO page and EXPO guidebook for more details!

CYT After Dark takes place each night around 9pm. It’s the perfect hang out spot where there will be massive dance parties, glow sticks flying through the air, special guests, prize giveaways, coffee-talk, games, talent shows and MORE! If you’re a student at EXPO, it’s the number one place to be!

These four little words pretty much sum up CYT. We’ll be focusing on these themes all throughout our time at EXPO with workshops, activities, special guest speakers and interviews, and more!

Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to become an equity actor in live theater? How does it work? What are the pros and cons? Is it really possible to make a living as a stage performer? Hear from professional, equity actors who work all over San Diego and can tell you the inside scoop on what it takes.

Learn from Hollywood actors as they walk you through their personal experience on the road to the big and small screen. Gain special insight into a world of Agents, Managers, casting calls, auditions and more!

Have you ever wanted to perform at a Disney theme park? Come find out from those who have worked or are currently working as some of Disney’s most notable characters at theme parks both here and abroad!

KNOW YOUR TYPE – “Are you a good witch? Or a bad witch?”
Who do you think you are…onstage? Do you keep getting cast in the same type of role? Is there a disconnect with the types of roles you want and the types of roles you get cast in? At this workshop, you will get an honest read from fellow actors & an experienced director about how you come across when you audition. This workshop hopes to help actors hone in on what type(s) of character(s) they are currently most suited to playing. We will also discuss the value in actors having a few well-rehearsed stock characters in their performance arsenals.

CYT’s, first ever, Reality TV show challenge! Be a part of the pilot episode where you will be broken up into teams, given specific challenges that you have to complete, film behind the scenes interviews and more! The winners will be announced live on closing night of EXPO and the television show will be released on CYT TV. It’s bound to be a ton of fun!

Bring your best one minute audition song that you think showcases the best of your vocal abilities. Receive instant feedback on song selection, vocal range, interpretation and more, while at the same time trying for a solo spot in the National Showcase (to be performed at closing night of EXPO).

We’re guessing you have some pretty great ideas… and we want to hear them! Join this round-table discussion and share your thoughts on what you would do if you were the “Wizard” of CYT.

This fun, one of a kind talent show will take place at CYT After Dark. No need to come prepared with anything. You will be given a challenge the night of and have just 10 minutes to put your act together. It’s fast, it’s fun and it’s another chance for you to show us what you got!

This year we’re bringing back the National Showcase at the close of EXPO, with performance opportunities for all students in attendance. Audition for a solo during the Audition Workshop, or just jump in to learn the choreography and songs. What better way to celebrate being one big happy CYT family than by participating in one big National Showcase!

If you haven’t figured it out yet, there’s ALWAYS MORE!

So what are you waiting for? Head over to the EXPO page now and register today!!


The Benefits of Arts in Education and CYT@school

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CYT strongly supports the inclusion of arts in education. Click here to learn more about the CYT@school program.

As a mother of 2nd grader attending a public school in Seattle, WA, I regularly wonder about the arts education my daughter is (or is not) receiving at school. I’m blessed that my daughter’s school includes of a community of arts-minded parents who volunteer their time and knowledge to the students, to ensure that the arts are included in their educational experience, regardless of district funding and staffing. I’ve even had the pleasure of being able to direct the last two plays at her school (cast size: approx 130!). I witness first hand the joy and community that the arts inspire at my daughter’s school. However, I know that this privilege is not afforded to many, many schools & communities in our country. I lament that all children don’t have these opportunities. Sadly, arts in education is still viewed by many as a non-essential element for education and consequently, receives inadequate funding. But, some groups are working to change that perception.

This past January,The LA Times posted on the National Assn. of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in Anaheim, CA. In their article, they reported on the benefits of arts in education. They stated:

Though topics at the National Assn. of Music Merchants (NAMM) convention in Anaheim most often trend toward musicians, musical instruments and how they interact, one panel at the annual industry gathering tilted in a decidedly socially conscious direction. (…)

(D)uring a presentation on the benefits of intensive arts education for students at eight of the nation’s lowest performing public schools (….) The results of a two-year study were unveiled Thursday, and the numbers demonstrated dramatic improvement in academic performance — not just in math, science and reading, but also in improved attendance rates and significant reductions in disciplinary problems reflected in reduced suspension and expulsion statistics at more than half of the schools.

Among the study’s key findings: Students in the eight schools that incorporated arts programs into their regular curricula exhibited an average 22.6% increase in math proficiency and a 12.6% improvement in reading proficiency. Those figures exceeded increases in the their districts as a whole (20.1% and 7.9%, respectively), and were markedly higher than other schools in their states receiving federal school improvement grants (SIG), at 16.2% and 5.6% respectively.

(Please click here to read the rest of this inspiring article from latimes.com.)

At CYT, we also strongly believe in the value of arts in education. We are deeply committed to serving all children through the arts, including when they are at school. One way that we do so is through our CYT@school program. Here is an excerpt from our CYT@school Mission Statement:

Many schools have had to cut their arts programs. CYT@school is dedicated to bringing to your school a low-cost, after school program developed to support the performing arts training in public and private schools. Research has shown that performing arts helps students gain confidence, build leadership skills and develop a sense of community. CYT wants to ensure that students everywhere have an opportunity to experience theater arts.

Our CYT San Diego affiliate currently serves 30+ schools with their successful CYT@school program. Click here to learn more about CYT@school and see if it’s right for your school. If you are interested in starting up a CYT@school program in your school, email: heather@cyt.org for more information.

It is our hope that eventually arts will be seen an a necessity in education rather than just a “perk.”

EXPO 2015 Registration is here!

EXPO 2015 Registration is here! Hop on over to our EXPO homepage and register today before you’re too late! While you are there make sure you check out our EXPO Guidebook for all your EXPO needs!

We have an incredible week lined up with amazing guest speakers, workshops, Improv competition, and more!

Students: Ever wondered how to figure out your acting “type”? Want to learn about how to become an equity actor? Well, come to EXPO and find out!

Leadership: Ready to learn about how to become an engaged board member? Want to get some incredible fundraising ideas? How about learning how to communicate casting to your families? Learn all these things and more at the 2015 EXPO!

While you are there don’t forget to register for our special event, held at the hotel just hours before EXPO begins! Spots are already filling up! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn from these incredible instructors.


James Eckhouse

James Eckhouse

Sign up today for this limited availability master class taught by long-term Actor/Educator, James Eckhouse and Playwright/Director/Actor, Keliher Walsh. During this 2 hour Master Acting Class for students ages 15-21, you’ll receive dedicated attention to help hone your craft with the guidance of professionals. This unique Acting Master Class will be held at the San Diego Resort and Spa Hotel immediately before the EXPO begins. Only 30 spots available!

WHO: Open to anyone ages 15 – 21 (do not need to be registered for EXPO)
WHEN: Sunday, June 21st 3pm – 5pm
WHERE: San Diego Resort & Spa
RESTRICTIONS: Only 30 spots available!

EXPO “BONUS” Fun in the San Diego Sun!

SAVE THE DATES! For those of you who haven’t heard, the 2015 CYT EXPO is happening June 21st-24th in beautiful San Diego, California! There are an insane amount of EXPO activities for students ages 12-18 and adults, as well as bonus events that will make your San Diego stay the most memorable trip of the year. Official EXPO registration opens April 1st, 2015. But check out these five BONUS events surrounding EXPO that you can look forward to during your stay in San Diego.


JUNE 19th, 2015 – CYT PROM – “One Short Night in the Emerald City”
If you’ll be in town a couple days before EXPO, join CYT San Diego for the biggest dance of the year! They are inviting students from all affiliates to attend their annual CYT Prom.
WHO: Open to all CYT students ages 13 – 18 (do not need to be registered for EXPO)
WHEN: Friday, June 19th, 7:30pm – 10:30pm
WHERE: Moniker Warehouse in Downtown San Diego
REGISTRATION / FEE: $25. Get your tickets HERE
RESTRICTIONS: All CYT students, ages 13 – 18, from across the country are invited!



James Eckhouse

James Eckhouse

Sign up today for this limited availability master class taught by long-term Actor/Educator, James Eckhouse and Playwright/Director/Actor, Keliher Walsh. During this 2 hour Master Acting Class for students ages 15-21, you’ll receive dedicated attention to help hone your craft with the guidance of professionals. This unique Acting Master Class will be held at the San Diego Resort and Spa Hotel immediately before the EXPO begins. Only 30 spots available, so sign up beginning 4/1/15 before this class fills up!
WHO: Open to anyone ages 15 – 21 (do not need to be registered for EXPO)
WHEN: Sunday, June 21st 3pm – 5pm
WHERE: San Diego Resort & Spa
REGISTRATION / FEE: $75. Registration for this event opens 4/1/2015 at expo.cyt.org
RESTRICTIONS: Only 30 spots available!


This is the EXPO kick-off party, but we’re inviting all CYT affiliates, students, parents, etc. of all ages to join this massive CYT get together! Cost is only $5 for food, and also s’mores once the sun goes down. The location is right next door (walking distance) from the hotel where EXPO will take place. Don’t miss it!
WHO: Open to everyone! (do not need to be registered for EXPO)
WHEN: Sunday, June 21st at Dinner time (exact time TBD)
WHERE: Beautiful park next to the San Diego Resort & Spa
REGISTRATION / FEE: $6 for dinner and s’mores bonfire on the bay! Registration for this event opens 4/1/2015 expo.cyt.org.
RESTRICTIONS: None! This event is open to all.


Did you know that San Diego Christian College offers a program that will raise up future CYT leaders? Want to learn more about SDCC and their Musical Theater Program? Join us at 10am on Thursday June 26th for a free college campus tour specifically for CYT Kids! To reserve your spot contact Amanda Hyden (SDCC Theater Admin) at amanda.graham@sdcc.edu.


Camp Awesome(1)-1Stay a few days after the EXPO with a friend or host family so you can attend CYT San Diego’s unique, overnight summer camp for teens! For more info on getting connected to a host family for the time between EXPO & camp, email Linda Wolfe at Camps@cytsandiego.org.
WHO: All teens ages 13 – 18
WHEN: Sunday, June 28th – Friday, July 3rd 2015
WHERE: Pine Valley Bible Conference Center
REGISTRATION / FEE: $400 Click HERE for details.
RESTRICTIONS: All are welcome, as long as they are between the ages of 13 – 18

Here’s a video from CYT San Diego, inviting YOU to join in the fun this summer!

2015 Improvathon Information


It’s that time again! The CYT 2015 EXPO is fast approaching (this year, in beautiful San Diego, CA), which means the Improvathon is coming too! Improvathon is a CYT improv competition that takes place during the EXPO each year. Last year we had almost 300 students attend the EXPO in Houston, and many of them took part in the Improvathon competition.

Even though EXPO registration does not begin until March 30th, the Improvathon information has been released and coaches, leaders and teams can check out what’s in store for this year’s competition HERE.

Aside from participating in Improvathon this year, students will have the opportunity to receive a special training session with their Improv Team, to join other EXPO activities like After Dark dance parties, guest speakers/workshops, the National Showcase performance and more! There is so much going on at EXPO and Improv is just one, very exciting slice of the pie! All CYT students ages 12-19 are welcome to register for this year’s EXPO, even if you are not on an Improv Team.

Check out the Improv info HERE and find out more about the 2015 CYT EXPO. We hope to see you there!

Doogles Bee! By Paul Russell & Doug Schmitt

Doogles Bee the Wanna-a-bee written by Paul Russell and illustrated by Doug Schmitt

Doogles Bee the Wann-a-bee written by Paul Russell and illustrated by Doug Schmitt

Did you know Paul Russell and his good friend Doug Schmitt created a children’s book called Doogles Bee the Wann-a-Bee? And you can download it in iBooks!

Doug Schmitt was in the very first CCT’s production of The Sound of Music in 1980. It was at that time that Paul Russell and him struck up a life time friendship and they have been friends now for 35 years. Doug is an artist and art director for Suzy’s Zoo, a greeting card company. Much of his work can be seen in Hallmark stores all over the world.

During his free time, Doug would sketch up cute little characters and make personal cards for people. Paul saw one of the characters Doug called Doogles Bee and they got the idea of coming up with a series of stories about the cute little character. Paul would write and Doug would do the illustrations and together they produced a series of stories teaching young kids the values of being yourself, appreciating your heritage, working hard and the importance of NOT comparing yourself with others.


Doug and Paul hope these stories will be an encouragement to parents and grandparents now that Paul is getting number seven grandkid this year. With these grandkids there is a storehouse of stories to tell.

Click HERE to see more about Doogles Bee the Wanna-a-Bee and to get your very own digital copy!

Advice for Actors about working with Directors

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When working with a director, don’t: throw wild punches; give noogies to people in beanies; push people over from behind; or take random naps. This all looks bad to the director & will not help your chances of being cast again.

The Samuel French sponsored everything-theatre website Breaking:(Character), recently posted an article (originally from Dramatics Magazine) discussing the “dos & don’ts” of working with a Director. As varied as directors can be in personality, style, & taste, there do exist some basic theatre etiquette truths that actors (young & old) would be keen to observe when working with the old head honcho in the theatre space.

Key tips from this article include:

  1. Do the basics. Be on time. Know your lines. Be a pleasant as well as creative part of the room. Listen carefully. Contribute. Directors notice all this. They will give more to those who are readily helpful to the process.
  2. If you have a complex question or issue that will take some time to hash out, ask to see the director after rehearsal or before the next one. Directors would rather not bring the rehearsal to a screeching halt for an endless discussion.
  3. Do compliment the director when you feel a compliment is richly deserved. […] (However) we don’t like being buttered up when we know it’s butter. Real interest in what’s being done is always a pleasure for the director. We are in this together.
  4. You can, and should, ask for more time on a moment or scene when you are sure that the time will improve the work. However, don’t do this too often (unless you are playing Hamlet or Hedda), lest you be thought a rehearsal hog. Say, “Could we run those eight lines again?” or “Sometime could we have another work session on this scene?” But keep in mind that directors never have enough time. They may not be able to do what you wish immediately. The phrase “whenever you have time” helps.
  5. Discuss with the director—don’t argue. The rule of thumb is that directors always win an argument, but everybody wins in a discussion.
  6. Don’t say that something the director proposes “won’t work” or “can’t be done” until you’ve tried it three times. Then “discuss.”
  7. Learn your lines on time. If you are playing a smaller part and the guy playing Hamlet knows his lines before you do, the director will notice and make negative judgments about your work habits. Remember, when you need work or want more casting, you’ll wish you had been noticed positively.
  8. Please, please, please, please do not say, “My character wouldn’t do that.” First, it’s not “your” character; it’s the playwright’s character. Second, the shape of the character is a coproduction between you and the director. You don’t own it. Discuss the moment but do not say… you know what.
  9. Be sensible about the time you demand from the director. Everybody wants and needs her attention. […] Remember that there is never enough time. Have a sense of proportion. And don’t keep asking, “How am I doing?” It’s annoying, and it’s an unanswerable question. Basically, if you are in rehearsal, you are “doing” and it’s getting better. That’s how you’re “doing.”

Click here to read the entire article at Breaking:(Character).

Also, click here for past CYT Blog post on “What a CYT Director wants you to know about Auditions” or here for a CYT Blog post on the transition from “CYT Student to Director (Sort of)”.

Hope this helps! Wishing you a happy theatre life!