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What is the Crescent City Lights Youth Theater?  

Now in our 20th year, CCLYT is the award-winning children’s theater company whose work consists entirely of productions performed by young people instructed by a staff of professional performing artists.  Begun in 1993 as Summer Stages, CCLYT changed their name in 2006 to demonstrate their commitment to the City of New Orleans after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  

In the summer of 2006, CCLYT began performing at the NORD Ty Tracy Theater on the 1st floor of the historic Gallier Hall in downtown New Orleans continuing the NORD Theatre tradition of summer youth theater at a time when the city experienced tremendous budget cuts due to the storm.  Since 2006, CCLYT has become a partner program with the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission and has produced over 20 productions in the NORD Ty Tracy Theatre.

Since 2011, CCLYT has attended the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, GA winning a trophy each year.  In 2012, we were awarded the Best Kept Secret award by the DDD Downtown Awards.  So if you haven’t heard about us yet, it’s time that you knew about CCLYT, children’s theater in the heart of downtown New Orleans.  

In the summer of 2013, CCLYT celebrated their 20th production at the NORD Ty Tracy Theater as well as their 20th consecutive summer of productions with all-kid casts.

Is there a cost associated with the program?

Each summer musical production has a $10 audition application fee and $325 tuition fee. If your child would like to audition for both shows, the audition application fee is $20. The actual cost per child is $1,500 however CCLYT raises funds through grant writing and admissions to the performances to help offset the overall cost.  All families are expected to help with fund raising efforts through the program.  NORDC contributes a portion of programming expenses and the use of the NORD Ty Tracy Theater, then CCLYT raises all of the remaining funds.  See the audition application for further details.

Why are there fees for a NORDC partnership program?

CCLYT receives limited funding through the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission that is not nearly enough to staff and run the theater program.  Funds generated from tuition fees are applied directly to the cost of putting on the show including the staff. All families are expected to assist with fundraising for cost the remaining program costs. To raise additional funds, CCLYT sells tickets to performances as well as program ads, concessions.  We have a summer donor campaign and additional fundraising events.  

Tuition covers 1/5 of the cost per student. CCLYT’s own fundraising efforts through grants, sponsorships, ticket sales and program ad donations assist in covering the remaining costs.

CCLYT cannot operate without all of these funding sources. CCLYT strives to keep the tuition low allowing families with low and moderate income. 

CCLYT is proud to transform the lives of New Orleans area children through the performing arts.

Are scholarships offered?

A limited number of need based scholarships are available. Please download the need based scholarship application below for complete information. These scholarships are limited and are intended for families with serious financial concerns. 

Who are the children that perform with the Crescent City Lights Youth Theater? 

CCLYT casts children in the 4th through 12th grade in their productions with the majority in the upper elementary/middle school age group.  The cast members come from a variety of backgrounds from across the Greater New Orleans area with the majority from Orleans Parish.  CCLYT looks for children who truly want to participate in a theater production and who are willing to make a significant commitment of time and effort to put on an excellent production which is advertised for public attendance. Through our rehearsal process, CCLYT creates a team of young thespians who becomes fast friends within the first two weeks of rehearsal.  

What is the audition like?  

CCLYT is geared to be an even playing field for children of all levels of talent.  For our auditions, students do not need prepared material.  Our staff will teach you a song and dance steps in a group situation.  Everyone learns together and then performs as a large group and then as smaller groups for the staff only.   The audition ends with a reading of the script together as a group.  For our cast, we look for natural ability and enthusiasm.   Please note that these auditions are closed to parents.  

How big is the cast of a show?  

Each show will have no more than 30 performers on stage.  The NORD stage is small and 30 kids fill the stage.  

Do your shows have a few leads with everyone else in the chorus?  

Absolutely not!  CCLYT selects shows that have many parts.  If the show itself has limited parts, then the staff of CCLYT works creatively to make the parts work for the talent that has been cast in the show.  CCLYT shows are intensive for all of the children in the cast.  

Will I know what my role is before the rehearsals start?  

CCLYT works in a unique and creative manner when casting our shows.  The final cast list is of all of the members of the theater ensemble as a whole.  The initial rehearsal are the auditions for specific roles.  These first rehearsals double as theater workshops where all ensemble members are given the opportunity to show where their talents are and where they need to be developed.  Roles are assigned usually by the end of the first week of rehearsals.  

With many years of experience, CCLYT finds this method works well to put all of the children on a even level where they can see for themselves who will work best in each role.  This method allows the staff to get to know each of the children’s talents and cast them in a role that will both challenge their talents and allow them to shine.

Once all of the cast have been vetted In our many years of experience, we find this method to work best for our style of casting roles.  The staff gets to know the cast members a bit before the casting occurs and allows the staff to be more creative in  the casting of the production.  We strive to showcase all cast members in some manner in the actual production.

In fact, alumni tell us that they like being an ensemble member more than having a role because they get lots of costume changes!  

Why is the audition application so long?  

CCLYT views our summer program to be an introduction to the professional world of theater and the entertainment industry. CCLYT teaches the performing arts skills of dance, drama and voice.  Beyond those skills, the life and job skills learned through the CCLYT process are even more important to be successful in any field not just the performing arts.  All performers are part of a team and children must learn how to have outstanding personal skills that will serve them in their current interest in the performing arts and beyond. 

Our application gives the parent all the information on the program operation upfront before they make a commitment.  The CCLYT staff is committed to giving your child an exceptional theater experience.  That experience is only possible with the full support and commitment of the cast member families.  We include the complete rehearsal calendar so that you know exactly how intensive our rehearsal process is for the good of the final performance.  Once all of this paperwork is complete, it’s a done deal.  The CCLTY staff can do their work to the best of their ability knowing that you, the parents, have been fully informed on how our program operates and will be cooperating with us throughout the entire rehearsal/performance process for the good of your kids and the final production. 

 How can I purchase tickets?

Advance sale tickets for CCLYT performances are only available online via Eventbrite (on this website) for several weeks prior to the performances.  The box office opens one hour before showtime for ticket sales at the door.  

When and where are the public performances?

Public performances take place in the summer usually in July and August held at the NORD Ty Tracy Theatre on the 1st floor of the historic Gallier Hall, 545 St. Charles Ave. 

Additional performances in the community occur throughout the year and are posted on the website.

Can I take pictures of my child during performances? What about videotaping?

Yes but only without flash and as long as you are not disturbing your seating neighbors in the audience.  Cellphone are not permitted because their use disturbs the audience and the flash is not easily controlled.

No videotaping is permitted.

My child is interested, but can’t attend auditions. Can they still participate?

Sorry but all participants must attend the group audition so that staff can judge how well the child interacts with other children.  

Are there group discounts for tickets?

Yes, contact us via email or telephone for details.  Please note that our ticket price is already discounted and one of the lowest ticket prices of live theater in town.  In fact, it costs the same as a seat at an IMAX theater.  

My child hasn’t completed 3rd grade, can they audition?

Sorry but children must have completed the 3rd grade to quality for an audition.  The CCLYT program is an intensive one that is geared towards public performance.  Children younger than 4th grade are not emotionally ready for this type of intensive experience.  While they may certainly have demonstrated talent, they do not have the emotional maturity to handle the CCLYT schedule.  This is based on our years of experience working with talented children.

Do you have any programming for younger children?

Not at this time.  A future development will be programming for the 3rd grade and younger age group.

Do you offer any programming during the school year?

 At this time our school year programming is only for those children who have successfully completed a production with CCLYT.  Again, CCLYT is looking to grow programming in the future.