The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company's mission is to empower youth in underserved and at-risk environments with the means and methods necessary to explore personal and social conflicts and develop self-esteem, communication and coping skills to make positive life choices and become productive members of the community.
Future goals include:
Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.
Source: IRS Form 990
The Unusual Suspects operate programs throughout Los Angeles with approximately 85% of those we serve across all programs living in our target neighborhoods of South Los Angeles and Pacoima/San Fernando. The remaining 15% live throughout Los Angeles County and participate in our workshops at juvenile detention facilities.
Through a grassroots approach, US tailors programming to match the needs of youth and families in our communities. All programs are free of charge for participants. This model ensures our services are completely accessible to those who need them most. To help US cover the costs of implementing our programs, and to ensure full buy-in, we ask our partner agencies to pay a modest program fee.
Our program Director, Yolanda Androzzo, is an accomplished theatre-artist and educator. Yolanda is a youth development director, playwright/poet and theatre-arts professional with 15 years of experience in non-profit programs management.
Designed to decrease social isolation and increase protective factors for reducing child maltreatment, NV engages around 30 intergenerational community residents, ages 11–65+, in creating their own theatrical work via an annual, intensive 12-week workshop. NV’s model fosters relationship-building among families and communities, and allows parents and adult community members to create & perform their own theatrical work alongside their children and other youth, providing valuable mirroring/mentoring opportunities for the at-risk youth who are the focus of our work.
“This program helps you to cope with stress, anger [and] in my case, to reunite with my family… It’s been like therapy to spend more time with each other and overall to have fun.” (Irene, NV adult participant, 2013)
VAST adapts our successful after-school curriculum to a residency of in-class workshops. Utilizing the fundamental building blocks of theatre — such as ensemble-building, development of bonds among peers, and communication — a US TA works alongside the classroom teacher to help students build valuable teamwork, communication and socialization skills that lead to improved self-confidence, as well as increased tolerance, trust and respect for others.
“Jose, ESL, [was] really uncomfortable speaking publicly. [He] opened up and was one of the stronger students participating by the end of the workshops.” (Leo Sanders, VAST classroom teacher, 2015)
TCAP reduces disparities in arts access by introducing low-income youth and adults to professional theatre performances throughout Los Angeles. Each free outing is accompanied by pre- and post-event workshops with our programs staff.
– Ignacio, TCAP youth participant, 2015
As a founding member of AIYN, US works in tandem with 10 arts-intervention organizations to provide interdisciplinary arts programming to youth offenders to build resiliency and wellness, eliminate recidivism, improve reintegration and transform the juvenile justice system. Through a curriculum modified from our flagship Youth Theatre Residency Program, US works to stem minors’ harmful tendencies and provide a positive, safe environment where incarcerated youth can learn to trust others, which becomes a gateway to other accomplishments.
"This program… it helped me through a lot. When I used to live in the streets, I was taught to have no emotions, and not trust anybody. It was different here. We had that trust, we had that bonding, and it just grew every day. It's crazy how this opens up your mind and your heart, and gives you hope for the outside." (Jean Carlos, AYIN juvenile camp participant, 2016)
We measure the success of our programs both quantitatively and qualitatively. Staff and TAs jointly review evaluation results to ensure that participants receive the greatest possible benefit from our program, and to inform continuous quality improvement over the years.
Executive Director Melissa Denton has dedicated the past 10 years
to The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company. She has represented US as
a thought leader in various capacities, including the First International
Teaching Artist Conference in Oslo, Norway, and has designed and facilitated
performance based training workshops for corporate and nonprofit clients. Prior
to her role at US, Melissa served as Project Coordinator with New
York City’s Roundabout Theatre Company, managing 25 teaching artists at Bronx
Theatre High School. She has worked as a teaching artist for various arts
organizations in NYC, including the Guggenheim Museum.
Melissa holds a Master of Arts in Nonprofit Management from Antioch University, Los Angeles and a Bachelor’s in Theatre-Mass Communications from South Dakota State University. She also is a Certified Nonprofit Professional from the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.