Connect with US




  • IMPACT

    The Unusual Suspects helps young people see their value, and understand that what they carry inside can help change them, their family, their community, and the world.
  • PROGRAMS

    Unlike any other program, The Unusual Suspects trains as an ensemble, using theatre to create community and belonging.
  • CONTRIBUTE

    The Unusual Suspects targets the hardest to reach youth, offering free programming to more than 1,000 individuals each year.
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WHO WE ARE

We are a group of dedicated educators, writers, actors, directors, mentors and volunteers who transform hearts, minds, lives and communities by empowering young people to own and share their stories.

WHAT WE DO

In collaborative workshop settings, we mentor youth to write and perform their stories, using theater to champion those most desperate to be heard and toughest to reach. We teach confidence, choice, hope, and empathy.

WHY WE DO IT

Every child from every neighborhood deserves a place to belong, the freedom to safely express themselves, an opportunity to be seen, heard, and known, and the chance to dream and achieve beyond their circumstance.

Our vision is to be a source of compassion, strength and support for youth in underserved and at-risk environments; to give them a voice that is heard, valued and respected; and to be a bridge that helps them make positive life choices.

THE PROBLEM IS REAL
SO IS THE SOLUTION

For over 20 years, The Unusual Suspects has responded to the systemic challenges facing Los Angeles’ youth. The Unusual Suspects participants break patterns of recidivism, gang activity and violence, and go on to be graduates, dreamers, leaders and mentors who are engaged in and give back to their communities.

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Annual cost to incarcerate one youth in California

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Cost for one youth to participate in The Unusual Suspects program

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Los Angeles Unified School District high-school dropout rate

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Percentage of The Unusual Suspects participants who stay in school

A YEAR OF IMPACT

programs

17

programs


volunteers

100

volunteers


participants

1000

participants


audience members

1000

audience members


community members

10,000+

community members

stay connected with US




MY NAME IS Tameka

and I am an alumna. When I was 16 The Unusual Suspects and I found each other. I always had the sense that I was going somewhere, that I was going to succeed, I just didn’t know how.   Through this experience I discovered my voice and my pathway to college and beyond.

YOUR HELP = IMPACT

GET INVOLVED!

Your contributions are essential. Thanks to your support, we are investing in our communities and empowering the hardest to reach youth of Los Angeles to create new story lines in their own lives every day.
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MY NAME IS Sarah

and I am a teaching artist. My first job is to build trust. We give youth space to get out whatever is inside them and work through it.  Over and over again the youth say they feel they belong, they have a family with us …that is the avenue to social change and violence prevention … people knowing that they have a voice and that they matter in the world.

JOIN US FOR POWERFUL PERFORMANCES

Right now, there are Unusual Suspects’ performance workshops happening at schools & juvenile detention centers throughout LA County where groups of talented students are learning to work together as an ensemble to create one amazing original play. This semester, works that were written during our Fall playwriting workshops will be entirely performed by our students.  Honor their voices by joining us as an audience member and bear witness to their work.

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A Night with US: Scenes from the Suspects

February 24 @ 7:00 pm

Join The Unusual Suspects for an exciting evening of staged readings, cocktails and conversation. Grab your friends and join us for a drink at The Virgil to watch a talented lineup of actors bring the inspiring theatrical work of our students to life in a place they’re not allowed to go. To celebrate a belated Valentines Day and the month of love, all selections will be stories of love and friendship! $10 suggested donation at the door. *Sorry, this one is 21 and older only.  

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Maclay Middle School Performance of “Long Live Lies”

March 18 @ 6:00 pm

The talented Unusual Suspects middle-school participants at Maclay Academy of Social Justice have written an original play that they will perform in a free public performance on Friday, March 18th! A poor and undocumented Mexican family copes with the death of their mother from cancer. Siblings Lucas and Raven struggle to get along and accept each other’s differences in the wake of their mothers death, while their father is keeping secrets. Raven attempts to cope by pushing her family farther away and joining a gang, Lucas must make a difficult decision and risk everything to save her life. In the end only love, acceptance, and the truth can save this family from falling apart.  

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San Fernando High School Performance of “Shamed Love, Runaways and Time Machines”

April 1 @ 6:00 pm

The talented Unusual Suspects high-school participants at San Fernando High School have written an original play that they will perform in a free public performance on Friday, April 1st! A brave boy and his sick traveling companion, a ten-year-old girl, fight for survival in a war-torn future. The resource wars have ravaged the planet and civilization has crumbled. The very future of the human race is at stake, and the odds are not in our favor. But there is hope: a chance discovery and some yet-to-be-invented technology presents itself. There is only one chance: Daniel Augustus must travel back in time and change his past to save our future. Meanwhile, two teenage girls living in our time, with troubled home lives and dark secrets, flee to New York City to follow their dream of becoming scientists. A philanthropic billionaire, a brilliant inventor and three brave young crusaders race against the clock

MY NAME IS Andrea

and I am an LAUSD teacher. The Unusual Suspects instill excitement, interest and competency in learning using creative interventions for our at risk students at San Fernando High School.  These vital skills, and learned self esteem are forever lessons that students use throughout their lives. Thank you US!