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CYT North Idaho: The show goes on

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | December 30, 2020 1:07 AM

As every thespian might know, one simply cannot end the show as the audience roars, "Encore!"

Christian Youth Theater North Idaho heard its supporters loud and clear. After the faith-centered children's theater nonprofit announced earlier this month that COVID-19 was forcing it to take a final bow, the miracles began.

A Dec. 9 Press article sharing the grim news of potential closure gained the attention of the community, followed by a string of support for CYT.

"We had pledges, and on our website we did get several donations," CYT North Idaho managing director Julie Hunt said Monday. "Even $50 was still a lot, from people who had seen our shows, but really weren't any of our families. People saw it and wanted to support kids. The article was really helpful just bringing about awareness."

CYT North Idaho, the local chapter of a national children's theater organization, had sent a letter to its families saying "barring miracles," it would have to close.

The media attention, paired with the roughly $15,000 brought in with the #SaveCYTNI movement, was one miracle.

Then the Kroc Center delivered another: Free classroom space for CYT's next two sessions.

Hunt gave a shout-out to former CYT North Idaho artistic director Trigger Weddle, who now serves as the Kroc Center theater and events manager.

"We love Trigger, she has a good place in her heart for us," Hunt said. "They're hurting too, but room for classes is really the best thing they could have done."

Weddle said the Kroc's leadership team couldn't offer the funding CYT needed, but it could offer a venue.

"CYT is our oldest client. They were the first theater company through the door," Weddle said. "I talked with my leadership and we really want to be available for our community. While we are also suffering some in a pandemic from people staying at home, what we can help with is space."

Miracles began to manifest in numbers, as well. CYT's staff, board and their gracious landlord came together to substantially cut overhead costs, drop most of the utility bills and reduce staff hours. The $13,000 monthly overhead projections were decreased to between $6,000 and $8,000.

Hunt was pleased to say, classes begin the week of Jan. 11 and registration will be open through the 21st.

"We lose the building, but you know what, the door opened that we can do classes at the Kroc Center for two or three sessions, which is a blessing," she said. "I think it's going to be a really positive growth opportunity for us until we can get back to doing shows."

Info: cytniboard@gmail.com or www.cytnorthidaho.org