[usual] Suspects is a local theater company with the mission to challenge, strengthen, and inspire our audience, ourselves, and our community. We began as a troupe of people interested in diversifying the theatrical offerings in Rockford, specifically focused on developing an affordable and local theatrical presence in the downtown Rockford area. Because we were driven to add to and participate in Rockford’s Downtown culture, we have consistently rented space through the Rockford Public Library at the Nordlof Center.
Beginning in 2018, The Rockford Public Library and [usual] Suspects worked together to become an Artist in Residency. This residency program provides [usual] Suspects with a home, increased access to Nordlof Center, and storage space for our sets and supplies, all for a set fee. As artist in residence, we are able to streamline our production time and costs, and increase the number of our productions per season. Partnering with the Rockford Public Library has given our theater company a home, and the ability to continue offering access to live performances at a low and affordable price point. Under the direction of Jason Edlén and Bob Reaven-Edlén, the company restructured as a business, and settled in to its new home at Nordlof Center.
2019 and Beyond: As we enter our fourth season, the ownership and artistic direction of [usual] Suspects has transitioned over to Charlie Rasmann, who is looking to grow the company as they carve out a name for themselves in the history of Rockford theater. We have officially paired with the Rockford Public Library in order to collaborate in providing affordable access to live theater and artistic performances. We are also expanding our seasons from three shows, as in the past, to at least four shows in the season, with room for additional offerings. As we look forward to the opportunities that the residency program has offered us, we are exploring potential growth avenues. Potentially offering workshops and educational access to the creative community, and adding more shows are just a few ideas to start with. The residency program provides access to a space for performances and now rehearsal and construction space for a set fee. Our new business plan now focuses on two areas: the individual production costs and the residency fee. We plan to continue self-funding our production costs through sales. However, we are targeting the residency fee through fundraising efforts. Our plan is to fund the residency costs through grants, sponsorships, and donations.