Why Have I Never Heard of CYC?


Chances are you have--but mistook us for our friends at CYT!  This was a common mis-identification which led to our changing our name to CYAC (California Young Actors Conservatory).  After some time, our Founder and Artistic Director went back to CYC (California Youth Conservatory) and empaneled a new, improved board with a far more effective and dynamic management style than the original CYC.  Since then, the quality of our production value (as well as the overall experience of the participants) has vastly improved.  We have been involved in non-stop programming since 2003, and will be here for many years to come! 



Do I Have To Take Classes?


No.  While CYC offers fun and effective classes for young performers, there is no requirement to sign up for them in order to participate in our shows.  All classes, camps and workshops are offered as separate activities.




What Are the Age Restrictions?


Generally speaking, the youngest age for participation at CYC is 6.  The upper age is 24 (college-aged).  These ages are guidelines, and exceptions are commonly made on a case-by-case basis.  Also, the age guidelines are show-specific.




I Heard The Director Is Very Strict.  Is This True and Why?


It is true that  Mr. Evans runs a very tight ship with regard to the company rules and company members' behavior/conduct while participating in our programming.  It very quickly becomes obvious to the cast members and parents alike that though he (and his staff) is serious about the rules and policies, he is also very fair and consistent with the application of those policies.  We understand that a 3-hour rehearsal is a long time for anyone (let alone a young child), so we take regular breaks at least once an hour to let the students snack, socialize or relax.  When we're 'working', however, it is a no-nonsense environment where close attention and earnest effort is required of every single cast member.  The end result is usually a very positive one as parents watch their children learn to apply themselves to a collective task; work very hard to attain a higher level of personal excellence; learn to treat their elders, teachers and each other with the utmost respect; learn to follow through with what they agree to; learn the importance of punctuality and dependability; all while at the same time having their talent nurtured.  This process is sometimes difficult at first for performers who are brand new or who have come from less structured (or less serious or result-oriented) organizations, but those with drive, ambition and a little perseverance and tenacity are rewarded with quantifiable  growth and personal improvement.  They (and their parents) are often amazed at what they accomplish in so little time.  CYC Theatre is not a daycare, and certainly not the right place for everyone.  We firmly believe that people get out of it what they want to, and that our results thus far speak for themselves.  Please see our TESTIMONIALS page to see what real people have to say about or organization and how we do things.



Is There A Fee For My Child’s Participation?


Yes.  There is a program fee which ranges from $250 to $350.  This fee covers a portion of the cost of instruction, space rental, and insurance.  There is often an additional costume fee which covers the cost of building, renting or buying costumes--as well as the cost of costumers.  There are incidental expenses like makeup and parking which the theatre also does not cover.


Why Are Your Fees Higher Than Other Similar Companies?


We offer many programming features not  found in any other young actor’s theatre company in San Diego.  For example, we are the only company of our kind that employs professional performers to appear in our productions and serve as coaches and teachers for you or your child.  Recently, other groups have begun to try to emulate this practice, but a comparison of the experience and accomplishments of our professional guest performers compared to those of other companies that claim to have this feature would speak for itself.   For example, for our production of RENT, we brought in the acclaimed Actress/Director/Playwright Karole Foreman as a Co-Director and Rodney Hicks (from the Original Broadway Cast of RENT) as a Special Guest Instructor.  No other youth theatre in San Diego brings in professionals such as these to teach and mentor the students.


Another important consideration is the fact that every single cast member in our show gets attention, direction and (in most cases) individual instruction from the Director.  In some groups, ensemble players unfortunately are treated like ‘living props’, and are made to feel that their real purpose is to add more parents and family friends to the audience and another tuition check to the company’s ledger.  Our organization is interested in the growth of the esteem and skill set of each cast member.  This is our primary goal.  Every single cast member, regardless of the size of his role, receives attention and quality instruction from experienced and talented professional performers.


Please see the TESTIMONIALS page to see what people are saying about us.



Why Do I Have To Pay the Tuition Up-Front?


It is our policy to collect the Tuition/Production Fee checks at the auditions.  There are several good reasons for this, but the main reason is that it encourages prospective participants to decide in advance whether or not he or she really wants to be involved in the production.  Ideally, we are looking for serious young performers who are aware of (and excited about) the quality of our productions and the training they offer--and wish to have the opportunity to participate in any capacity.  Sometimes, individuals wait to see what role they are offered before they decide whether or not they really want to be involved.  Obviously, this is potentially a tremendous waste of both our time and the prospective auditioner's time.  For individuals who are auditioning for specific roles, the audition registration form gives them the opportunity to indicate that fact.  If we are not able to offer the role that the auditioner indicates a willingness to accept--we will mail the tuition check back.   




Is The Tuition Fee Tax-Deductible?


No.  The tuition is considered payment for services, so it is therefor not tax-deductible.  However, gifts and donations are tax-deductible as CYC Theatre is a registered, non-profit charitable organization.




Will My Child Be Guaranteed a Spot?


No, not all of the auditioners will be cast.  A performer need not be experienced (or even talented) to secure a spot, but not all of the auditioners will be a good fit for this project.  We are a teaching theatre with a unique approach to training, and we take many aspects other than talent into account when casting. 




Why Does CYC Theatre Double-Cast?


It is our company's policy to double-cast most principal roles in our shows.  This is for several reasons:  The first (and most obvious) reason is for us to be covered in the event of an illness, injury or other unforseen event.  The second reason is that we believe that when young performers have a 'mirror' to rehearse with over an extended period of time, these individuals grow, create and explore their roles (and their art through the interpretation of their characters) more deeply.  We believe that the amount of learning and growing is greater, especially when these individuals have opportunities to perform ensemble roles on their alternates' nights.  Often, a performer's double is a far more experienced or talented performer, and the opportunity to learn from that individual as well as from the director yields results not found elsewhere.  It is true that some feel that this practice can also create an element of competitiveness between the casts, but when one considers the extremely competitive nature of work in performing arts, it makes sense that an organization dedicated to preparing young performers for better lives and better prospects in arts-related careers would deem it more beneficial to help young performers learn to deal maturely and healthily with the 'ever-present-in-real-life' factor of competition. 




Will My Child Be Called To Every Rehearsal?


No.  Most cast members will only be called to two rehearsals per week for the first month.  During the second month, most cast members will be called to up to three rehearsals (two weeknights and Saturday).  For the last week or so before tech week, every cast member will probably be called for most rehearsals.  A detailed schedule will be posted every two weeks (in advance) so that you may plan your other seasonal  activities.




We Want To Audition, But Maybe We Have Too Many Conflicts?


We are able to accommodate most peoples’ busy schedules.  Having a lot of conflicts will not necessarily preclude anyone from participating.  We simply ask that you completely disclose any and all conflicts before casting.  We bend over backwards to make our schedules compatible but, again, this depends heavily on your disclosing all of your conflicts thoroughly and in advance.  We tend to be very inflexible about non-disclosed or added-on conflicts as is the case in professional theatre.




My Child Is In the Show.  Do I Have To Pay To Watch the Show?


Yes.  We are, however, looking for a limited number of volunteers to help run the shows.  Family members can sign up to work a performance, helping with the setup of our raffle and t-shirt tables and other areas.  These volunteers will not be required to have a ticket to watch the show.  Otherwise, everyone in the House should be holding a ticket.  




Am I Allowed Backstage?


Not unless you are a volunteer signed up to work the backstage.  Generally speaking, we prefer not to have parents, siblings or well-wishers backstage at any time.  We will have a crew of experienced, qualified helpers backstage so you do not need to worry about your child.  With those exceptions, only cast and crew are allowed backstage during the performance.  Parents who are uncomfortable with the idea of leaving their child in our care backstage should consider this policy before auditioning.



So My Kid Got Cast.  Now Am I Expected To Help?


Yes.  CYC Theatre is a family organization from the kids on up.  Many of our staff work on a volunteer basis and families of minors cast in our productions are required to pitch in.  We ask an adult family member from each family to help by serving on committees such as Publicity, Fund-Raising, Costuming, Special Events, Rehearsal Monitors, Construction Crew, Etc.

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