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Hundreds of youth in middle schools, high schools, and juvenile detention camps take part in our cornerstone playwriting and performance workshops each year.

These 20-week, two-part intensive after-school and in-camp trainings, instructed by industry and education professionals and mentors, reveal new insight and opportunity for each participant. Youth explore the personal and social conflicts that impact their communities via the creative process of writing and/or performing their own original plays. Workshop curricula are certified under California state education standards for English Language Writing and Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA), and utilize theatrical story development, script writing, improvisation techniques, and onstage performance to help youth develop self-esteem, respect, and tolerance of others, as well as the communication, coping, and behavioral skills necessary to make positive life choices.


Young people, adults, and elders come together for our community based, intergenerational playwriting and performance workshop.

These 12-week intensive workshops bring youth, parents and grandparents together to create and perform their own theatrical works. This participant-driven program offers writing workshops and culminates in performances designed to decrease social isolation and the destructive behaviors that negatively impact children’s development, such as substance abuse and domestic strife. The workshops successfully improve self-confidence, social connections, and knowledge of community resources. Neighborhood Voices workshops end with interactive productions that engage the audience around the play’s themes. Neighborhood Voices is an outgrowth of our organization’s participation in Prevention Initiative Demonstration Project, the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services’ innovative child-abuse prevention initiative.


In multiple classrooms each year, hundreds of students participate in our in-class theatre workshops.

These residency, in-class theatre workshops uniquely pair teachers, teacher’s assistants, and The Unusual Suspects staff in training and mentoring students. Each workshop follows proven, standards-based curriculum, which enhances language and communication skills and helps strengthen students’ ability to work effectively and respectfully with diverse teams. Trained teaching artists guide students through master theatre exercises that support communication skills, public speaking, and role playing, thereby enhancing essential 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creativity, and innovation in the classroom.


Multiple times a year, we make it possible for low-income, underserved youth and adults to experience professional theatre together.

Recently piloted, and in conjunction with Neighborhood Voices, TCAP brings together former and current program participants in intergenerational, professional theatre settings. Each TCAP outing is led by two of our highly trained TAs and/or staff, and is coupled with a pre- and a post-show workshop in order to foster active participation. Understanding the value of exposure to the arts, this new program connects those who might not otherwise have access to professional, live theatre, to some of the most impacting and enriching performances and training Los Angeles has to offer.