One Play at a Time


Incarcerated youth present their original play, Reflection: The Rico Story, at Camp Gonzales, June 2017.

Moving California Forward
One Play at a Time

As part of Elevate California, our Executive Director, Melissa Denton, and Board Member/Alumna, Tameka Carter, wrote an Op-Ed sharing their perspective about the essential role nonprofits, including The Unusual Suspects, play in addressing economic inequality and improving opportunities and support for young people impacted by poverty.

Tameka, who experienced homelessness as a child shares how “she joined The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company and began to find her voice. She was able to tap into her creativity and find an outlet to communicate the hardships she experienced living on the streets.

As a result of the program, Tameka said, “A whole new world of creative expression and self exploration opened up to me.”

Check out the full piece on our blog HERE!

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Meet our newest suspect…

Adrienne Shelnutt became our new Program Manager in June, and we are thrilled to introduce her to you! She brings many years of experience to US as both a designer and facilitator of multi-lingual arts education and community-building programs, in addition to working with nonprofit theatre and community based organizations in multiple countries. Adrienne believes that art is essential to humanity and has experienced first-hand its ability to be a powerful force in social justice movements. Check out her full bio HERE and meet the rest of our team!


We can’t wait to share our 3-part newsletter about our inaugural program at the newly re-designed Campus Kilpatrick and the launch of the L.A. Model.
Stay tuned to learn how you can join US in this trailblazing work!

Where In The World Are The Suspects?

We’ve been busy working to strengthen our programs and spread word of our work! 

Thursday, July 27th … Meisha was spotted learning at LACMA during a Communications Workshop hosted by the Eisner Foundation.
Monday, August 7th … Yolanda and Adrienne were spied pitching The Unusual Suspects Playwriting Program to incoming 9th graders at San Fernando High School.
Tuesday, August 8th … Melissa got creative with other Arts for Incarcerated Youth Executive Directors to design workshops for the upcoming Create Justice conference on Sept. 25 & 26.

Monday, August 14th … Yolanda, Adrienne and Melissa were found leading Day 1 of our Fall 2017 Teaching Artist training.
Wednesday, August 16th … Melissa, Yolanda, and Meisha along with US Board Members were spotted at the home of Board Chair, Karine Rosenthal for Cocktails and Conversations with new supporters excited to learn more about our mission and programs.
Thursday, August 17th … Adrienne and our Tech Coordinator were discovered at our office training on our new tech equipment funded by Women Helping Youth.

The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company believes every young person deserves to be seen, heard and understood. Through collaborative workshops, we work deeply to empower the hardest to reach communities to tell their stories together leading to self-discovery, a sense of belonging, and the building of stronger families and communities.

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