History

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1987 – CITA was organized by a group of Christians meeting at Malone College in Canton, OH for a summer drama conference. This group was concerned that an ongoing network of conference and printed materials be available to Christian theatre artists who they perceived to be laboring in relative isolation from one another.

1989 – CITA was incorporated as a non-profit networking organization under the leadership of Dale Savidge as the Executive Director. The first annual National Networking Conference of Christians In Theatre Arts was held in 1992, with 150 people attending.

1993 – At the conference CITA held its first annual CITA Auditions and Interviews, and its first annual Church Drama Festival. 275 people attended the conference

1995 – We held an international conference in England for a tour of York to see the York Mysteries, followed by a visit to Stratford. 450 people attended.

1996 – CITA was able to fund twelve scholarships to the conference, where 475 people attended. The same year, CITA coordinated a study for Baiba Seleck, a Latvian student. Her study tour took her to the A.D. Players, Lamb’s Players, Taproot Theatre, Seattle Pacific Theatre, Pacific Theatre in Vancouver, Trinity Western University, Chemainus Theatre, Willow Creek Church and Master Arts Co., and Saltworks Theatre.

1997 – The first CITA Distinguished Service Award was given to Dr. Gillette Elvgren. CITA was 1000 members strong and over two dozen successful regional conferences had been held across the US and Canada. 450 people attended the national conference.

1998 – CITA continued to grow until it was 1200 members strong. Over three dozen successful regional conferences were held across the US and Canada.

1999 – The Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, based at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, gave CITA a $15,000 grant for a one-year study project on the role of theatre in worship settings. The grant was awarded under the Worship Renewal Grants Program which is funded by the Lilly Endowment. A prayer network was established and a new feature was included at  the conference, a bible study led by Harvey Johnson centered on the timely theme, “The Artist’s Journey.”

2000 – A dance component was added, and an international CITA workshop was held in the Primero Iglesia Bautista, Matanzas, Cuba. The Central Valley held their first regional conference and welcomed 61 conferees.

2005 – CITA was invited to take residence at the Kroc Community Center in Greenville, SC.

2006 - CITA holds its National Conference in New York City

2009 - CITA launches the inaugural CITA Secondary Theatre Festival providing an opportunity for high school students to compete in individual events categories and attend workshops in a Christ-centered atmosphere.

2011- CITA reimagines its focus and creates a trilateral initiative in Applied Theatre, Emerging Artist/New Works and CITA to the Nations. It launches the CITA San Juan Theatre Conference and introduces the Applied Theatre Conference, along with the ongoing CITA Secondary Theatre Festival.

2014 - CITA hosts the Applied Theatre, Spiritual Formation & Christian Worship Conference and continues the growth of the CITA Secondary Theatre Festival. Technical theatre students are able to present their work at the festival for the first time. Broadway guest Quentin Earl Darrington from the Broadway revival of Ragtime performs and presents a master class for attending students.

2015 - CITA hosts Introduction of Theatre for the Oppressed and Theatre for Marginalized Groups. The CITA Secondary Theatre Festivals are held in Chattanooga, TN, in Denver, CO, and in California at Azusa Pacific University.

2016 - CITA hosts the Go Play: Exploring Creativity & Spontaneity through Psychodrama and the CITA Secondary Theatre Festival is hosted in Chattanooga, TN with Broadway guest Emerson Steele from the new Broadway musical Violet. The first new Theatre for Young Audience (TYA) play reading is held at the festival.

2017 - The New Works Initiative holds live-streamed readings of three plays with professional actors. The first ever “Happening” is held in Charlotte, NC. A new, boutique/niche conference, CITA created the opportunity for playwrights to come together in a new works track and hone their craft with industry professionals and Dale Savidge led a group in Applied Theatre that was able to do hands-on work in the Charlotte community. The first ever song/play slam is presented at The Happening, allowing musical creators to debut or demo a song from a musical in progress, and playwrights to read an excerpt from a new work in a live-streamed presentation. Miss Maude a new play by Martin Casella is chosen from the New Works Initiative readings and a workshop production debuts at The Happening. The CITA Secondary Festival is held in Chattanooga, TN. New Play development continues as last year’s TYA new play is performed by Carmel Christian Students and the second new TYA play reading is presented at the festival.

2018 - The Secondary Theatre Festival finds a new home at Carmel Christian School in Charlotte, NC with Broadway guest Quentin Earl Darrington, starring in the Broadway revival of Once On This Island at Circle in the Square Theatre. 11 Christian Colleges join the festival to audition and recruit students for their theatre programs. The Happening is held in Houston, Texas at the new George Theatre home of AD Players with three tracks of focus: Stageworks: New Play Development, Applied Theatre, and TYA/Theatre Educators. After 30 years of service, Dale Savidge resigns and takes on the role of the Executive Director of the Applied Theatre Center. Luann Jennings is named interim Executive Director and the organization enters into a year of transition and reorganization.

2019 - After a year-long process of re-visioning, discussion, and redefining the future of the organization, the Board of Directors has affirmed Bruce Long as the new Executive Director of Christians in Theatre Arts. The Secondary Theatre Festival is held at Carmel Christian School in Charlotte, NC, with Broadway guests Stephen (Les Miserables) and Juliette Trafton (Phantom of the Opera National Tour).

2020 - Stay tuned for more!