Wanting to ‘wow’ the audience through their voices and acting, performers from Christian Youth Theater (CYT) will be putting on Peter Pan from May 15-18.

Peter Pan will be held at Crowder Hall at 1017 N. Olive Road. Christian Youth Theater will be putting on six performances and tickets are $12 per person.

CYT is a nonprofit organization that helps train students, ages 5-18, in theater arts. The mission of the organization is to provide wholesome family entertainment. Anyone is welcome to be a part of CYT. For more information visit their website at cyttucson.org.

“We have kids from all different faiths. It’s neat because they all learn from each other and the different aspect of each other’s beliefs and religion,” said Kathy Thuerbach, executive director of CYT. “We are modeling good character to the kids, honesty, responsibility, being kind to others and being inclusive.”

Thuerbach first got involved in CYT back in 1986 while living in San Diego. After helping there for a few years, as well as being a part of Christian Community Theater, a nonprofit theater arts program for people ages 16 and up, Thuerbach moved to Tucson with her husband and three kids. In 2005, after her kids had grown up a bit, Thuerbach started CYT in Tucson. It originally started at her house with only 35 students. Since then, the program has grown to having 1,500 students be involved every year.

With so many students now a part of the program, CYT has grown in how many classes it offers throughout the year. Classes include training in voice, acting, magic, tech classes, musical theater workshops and more. Summer camps run for 10 days from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. On the last day the campers perform their show. This summer they will offer three different camps: Tangle in Tucson, Camp Frozen and Hairspray Junior (only for teenagers).

Matthew Glasshoff, 12, got involved with CYT two years ago. Throughout that time Matthew has had roles, some more prominent than others, in the shows of Snoopy, The Wizard of Oz, Oliver and Shrek.

“I feel like I’ve grown in confidence in front of people and it’s really helped me,” said Matthew. “After my first performance I said, ‘I’m never going to stop doing this.’”

Apart from summer camps, CYT yearly puts on three large shows. These shows require students to take classes for nine to 10 weeks. Students must commit to practicing one day for two hours during the weekdays and rehearse for the show on the weekends. Throughout those weeks, professional instructors help teach and improve the skills of the students. Also included are mentoring programs in which the older and more experienced students are paired up with younger and less experienced students.

“They become friends and they have conversations. It’s equally beneficial for each of them,” said Thuerbach. “It’s a family. It really and truly is.”

Looking forward to the rest of the year, Thuerbach is excited to put on more shows as well as announce that Christian Community Theater (CCT) will be coming to Tucson. CCT is available for those who are 16 years and older and still have the desire to perform on stage. CCT will come to Tucson sometime within this year.

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