Connect with US

    Dear Friend,

    The arts are vital, especially for our most vulnerable youth.

    According to the National Endowment for the Arts:  “students who have arts-rich experiences in school do better across-the-board academically, and they also become more active and engaged citizens, voting, volunteering, and generally participating at higher rates than their peers.”

    We at The Unusual Suspects Theatre (US)  see this first-hand – day in and day out. As just one example, eighty-eight percent of the students who participate in our whole-person mentoring theatre-arts program see an improvement in their vocabulary (based on pre- and post-surveys).

    Our Teaching Artists and Volunteer Mentors are the people who have their boots on the ground directly mentoring, guiding, supporting, and teaching the thousands of youth and families we serve. We could not do what we do without them.

    This is where we need your help.

    Because our programming is held to the highest education and social/emotional standards, training costs our organization on average $1,000 per Teaching Artist/Volunteer per year. (Read below to learn more specifics on our teachers and our trainings.)

    In spite of the cost, we wouldn’t change a thing. We believe – and our success shows – that our youth deserve nothing less than consistent programming held to these high standards.  We hope you agree and show your support by making a contribution. Give whatever you can – from $1,000 to  sponsor a Teaching Artist for the year to $10 – to everything in between. Please know that every contribution is equally appreciated and respected – we are a fiscally-sound organization that has a GuideStar Gold Seal of Transparency rating.

    This is the first installment of a three-part series, wherein we hope to educate and inspire you to join US in fulfilling our vision of a world where all youth are given the opportunities and support they need to succeed to become more engaged citizens – for today, tomorrow, and always!

    I’m ready to contribute

    What makes US one-of-a-kind?

    The Unusual Suspects staff are one-of-a-kind! They adjust whenever necessary to meet our partner sites and students where they are. We practice the highest levels of selection and training of our teaching teams because we know it’s essential to create safe spaces in every workshop giving our students consistent, unconditional support no matter what else is happening around them.

    Did you know that every US workshop is led by two paid teaching artists (TAs) with professional experience in theatre instruction? Our stellar roster of US teaching artists also:

    • Work professionally in theatre and film
    • Hold master’s degrees in fine arts
    • Are bilingual Spanish/English to incorporate English language learners into our workshops

    Along with supervision from US senior staff, our teaching team also includes volunteer mentors to ensure our kids have all the support they need.

    But it doesn’t end with recruiting the best people. We believe it is essential to provide them with tools and ongoing training like:

    • Quarterly trainings on our standards-based curriculum, classroom-management, and conflict resolution strategies.
    • Intensive professional development from mental health and social work professionals regarding the effects of trauma on youth, de-escalation strategies and post-traumatic stress disorder.
    • Techniques to support self-care to manage the physical and emotional effects of working with traumatized youth. 
    • Presentations from partner organizations specializing in cultural empathy, LGBTQ+ issues, and community resources.
    • Plus, each volunteer mentor receives additional orientation to experience a “day-in-the-life” of an US workshop through the eyes of a participant.


    Drop in on a day from our most recent Teaching Artist training

    THANK YOU for Setting the Stage for our most vulnerable youth.

    I’m ready to help #SetTheStage

    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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