The Unusual Suspects

Program Director

Employment type
4 months ago
Los Angeles

Organization Summary
The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company’s (US) mission is to mentor, educate, and enrich underserved youth through the creation of collaborative, original theatre. A recognized leader in the fields of arts education, youth development, mentorship, and community building throughout Los Angeles County, US’s mission powers our vision of a world where all youth are given the opportunities and support they need to succeed. The Unusual Suspects’ award-winning, participant-driven theatre-arts programs, centered around storytelling through the page and stage, have empowered underserved youth with lifelong skills for 27 years, going beyond the reach of a typical arts education workshop to provide vulnerable adolescents with the hope and confidence to overcome their difficult surroundings and develop a strong sense of agency over their own lives.

Founded in the wake of the 1992 LA Uprising, US has grown from a small, volunteer-led youth intervention program into a recognized leader in arts education, youth development, mentorship, and community building. With the launch of a new Alumni Residency, we now serve 1,600+ participants annually via 7 program models that use theatre-arts education & mentorship to mitigate the underlying environmental risk factors that threaten healthy youth development. Each modeled after our core Youth Theatre Residency Program and reimagined for virtual delivery during our health crisis. US programs collectively provide holistic prevention & intervention benefits and open educational/career pathways for LA’s most underserved youth. For more information, visit:

Job Summary
The Program Director oversees the development, implementation and strategic growth of US’s theatre arts programming to youth from disenfranchised communities in Los Angeles County. The Program Director leads the artistic and educational vision of US’s programs with public schools, parks, Probation Department, and community-based nonprofits; develops program policies and assessment practices to ensure strategic goals, academic standards and social emotional guidelines are adhered to, and residencies and performances are of the highest quality.  The position contributes significant leadership in partnership development, strategic planning and executive level decision making. Position reports to the Executive Director.  


Program Development and Management:

  • Oversee the quality and success of all aspects of program operations, management, assessment, and development, including training and development of program staff and volunteers.
  • Create evidence-based programs serving youth, teachers, and nonprofit partners. 
  • Develop strategic long-term program goals and budgets with Executive Director.
  • Lead and motivate a team of 3 FT staff and 25-35 PT teaching artists and volunteers.
  • Create program measurement tools, oversee data collection and evaluate outcomes.
  • Monitor program budgets and oversee government and partner contract compliances and deliverables.
  • Continue modification of existing program models and partnerships to best serve LA youth and communities.
  • Analyze data and program implementation and make necessary adjustments and improvements.
  • Visit school sites to observe, support and evaluate teaching artist instruction and program implementation.
  • Conduct weekly meetings with the Program Team to lend support and ensure compliance of program standards and practices.
  • Hire, train and evaluate the program staff and teaching artists.
  • Support Program Managers in development and cultivation of an effective volunteer management program.
  • Oversee the development of youth Alumni Program and career connection opportunities.
  • Oversee artistic and technical production goals and objectives.
  • Develop and expand professional development and cross training services.


Internal and External Communications

  • Ensure that Executive Director has routine and timely information about program success and challenges.
  • Under the Executive Director’s direction, provide regular updates to US board members and facilitate monthly program subcommittee meetings of the board.
  • Attend relevant partnership meetings to connect with key stakeholders within the Los Angeles area and ensure partners are aware of program successes and challenges in a timely manner.
  • Develop and maintain a pipeline of future partners and potential funding opportunities.
  • Work with the Director of Development & Communications to craft program related communications via social media, website, print and digital.
  • Help articulate US’s mission, goals, and achievements to a variety of audiences and represent US at local and national convenings and conferences.
  • Manage updates and improvements for US’s program related print and digital materials.


Desirable Skills & Qualifications

  • A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited four-year college or university; Graduate degree preferred 
  • At least 5 years of working experience in a similar role
  • Work well in various diverse communities, as well as institutional and governmental organizations
  • Ability to motivate, develop and direct people as they work, identifying the best people for the job
  • Cultural competency to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds
  • Strong project management and organizational skills
  • Working experience in theatre production and arts education program development
  • A past history of developing funded relationships with nonprofits, contractors and schools
  • Ability and strong desire to use data to drive decisions and manage work plans.
  • Ease at managing competing demands and determining priorities.
  • Experience in meeting facilitation, and public presentations, trainings and speaking engagements.
  • Work well in a team-oriented environment and maintain professional, harmonious relationships
  • Some knowledge of the Los Angeles City/County/State political and policy process
  • Proficient computer skills, especially using Microsoft Suite and Google Suite of applications
  • Detail-oriented with excellent communication, organizational, interpersonal and writing skills
  • Experience leading public presentations, trainings and speaking engagements 
  • Must have reliable transportation and be able to drive a car and have appropriate auto insurance coverage, and a valid California Driver’s license
  • English/Spanish bilingual preferred


Personal Qualifications:
The candidate has a commitment to developing youth, communities, and coalitions through the creation of collaborative, original theatre. Strong commitment to social change through community empowerment and the arts. Desire to hold oneself accountable for results and be transparent about success and shortcomings. Personal values align with the vision and values of The Unusual Suspects.

Physical Requirements & Work Environment:
Must be able to drive a motor vehicle.  Must be able to lift 30 pounds. Must be flexible working in a fast-paced, non-profit environment. Experience or interest in theatre and youth arts education is a plus. This position works primarily in the US administrative office but must be willing to use personal equipment such as cell phone and laptop/tablet if working remotely.

Application Deadline: October 23, 2020 or until filled
Desired Start Date: November 30, 2020
Salary: $71,000 - $74,000 

  • Competitive health insurance reimbursements
  • Generous Sick Days, Paid-Time-Off, and Holiday allocation
  • Cell phone and internet allowance
  • Telecommuting and Work flexibility


Salary & Schedule

  • $72,000 - $75,000 annually. Commensurate with experience. Exempt position. Health benefits.
  • Position is expected to work at least 40 hours weekly. Candidate must be open to work a flexible schedule, including some evenings and weekends. 


The Unusual Suspects is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and strongly encourages people of color, women, LGBTQ+ individuals, and those with protected class backgrounds to apply. We value the individuals that we hire and look forward to creating a positive work environment for all identities.

To apply

Send a cover letter in the body of the email including 1.) Where did you discovered this listing, and 2.) If you were a scene/moment from a play or movie what would you be and why? Please attach your resume as a PDF and send to [email protected].

Additional Information  
The information presented indicates the general nature and level of work expected of employees in this classification. It is not designed to contain, or to be interpreted as, a comprehensive inventory of all duties, responsibilities, qualifications and objectives required of employees assigned to this job. The Unusual Suspects provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetics. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.