Illusion Theater and School, Inc.

Focus Area: Youth Development

Grant Amount: $10,000

Located in Minneapolis, serves statewide. Founded in 1974 and based in downtown Minneapolis, Illusion’s mission is to create theater that illuminates the illusions, myths, and realities of our times and to catalyze personal and social change. Illusion has turned to creating specific work that addresses issues important to children and families. In 1978, Illusion pioneered the concept of prevention/education plays with “Touch,” addressing sexual abuse of children. Since then, Illusion continues to center educational programming in everything it does.

Grant supports creating a performance residency called “Keepin’ It Real,” about issues such as bullying, sexting, peer pressure, drug use, and more. It will focus on 5th and 6th graders and will be based on a similar program for older youth. Illusion will pilot the program in two schools: a mostly white middle school in the northern Minnesota community of Pequot Lakes, paired with a mostly Black, Indigenous, and students of color school on the west side of St. Paul. Topics of performances will be chosen by students and their advisors based on relevance to their lives and their communities.