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Spirit of Acadiana: A new home for Christian Youth Theatre

Posted at 10:50 PM, Jan 19, 2021

It’s the story of a building, constructed in Lafayette in the late 1950’s, a building that was a huge part of Lafayette’s oil and gas history. And now? You want to know what’s going to happen inside there now?

Magic, music, theatre.

And new life.

For all its time in Acadiana, Christian Youth Theatre (CYT) has been elite, with over 45 amazing shows, and most performed at UL’s Angelle Hall. But when it came to rehearsals and classes, CYT has been a nomad, going from church to church, and facility to facility.

Enter: the old Pennzoil Building on Lafayette’s Pinhook Road.

Enter: a donor who first offered CYT an outside venue to get the group through the pandemic, and then, went a step further. “And in the process he says, ‘Come see, I’ve got something else I want you to see,” says CYT Executive Director Gerald Broussard. “He proceeded to walk us into this building and said, ‘I’ve got two floors, vacant, it’s yours if you can use it’.”

Two floors. 15 rehearsal and class spaces. 10,000 square feet. And the group’s artistic director says her CYT kids--- over 200 each session--- are pumped about what’s to come.

“So many of the teams have asked me, ‘Can I come in? Can I come help paint? Can we rehearse there now?,” smiles Kallie Theriot. “They’re just so thrilled to have this space and have it be theirs.”

They’ve been like gypsies, says Theriot, using donated space at some wonderful Acadiana churches and schools. But now, it’s happily room & space, room and space, and more, room and space!!

“So just to have a blackbox theatre, and a dance room with mirrors and a costume shop,” says Theriot excitedly, “all of this stuff feels incredible. It feels like a new chapter for us.” CYT hopes to move in between mid-February and early March.

One more note: it’s a cool thing about this building and its history, and it’s history CYT’s executive director doesn’t take lightly.

“It was an icon in the oilfield, a big part of Lafayette,” explains Broussard humbly. “We feel like we’re going to show it honor and be able to show Lafayette a performing arts theatre that’ll be a blessing to the community.”

Finally, for CYT next week it’s Alice in Wonderland, and then it’s The Addams Family. Shortly thereafter, they’ll be in this space, preparing for the next shows… in CYT’s new home, one that’s been longtime coming.

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