Illusion Theater and School, Inc.

A nonprofit organization

$12,000 raised by 68 donors

80% complete

$15,000 Goal

Illusion's KEEPIN' IT REAL 

Students at Richfield High School

Since our founding in 1974, Illusion has maintained a laser focus on using theater and arts education to catalyze positive social and cultural change. For over ten years, Illusion's KEEPIN' IT REAL has been performed for students throughout the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. All the frankness, fun and failure that happens in high school comes out in this interactive performance piece built from stories of older teens who tell their truths to younger peers — so the younger students entering high school can avoid some common pitfalls. Over the course of the performance the teen audience gets to interact and discuss how they would act if they were in the situation, deepening the impact and long-term benefits of the work. 

To see how Illusion's trained artist/educators introduce KEEPIN' IT REAL, a program to help teens cope with issues that are most stressing them out, click here.

Your donation will make a difference. Please support us today! 

A Platform to Discuss Mental Health  

Kathy Analuf, Education Content Specialist, works with students from Bemidji High School While the impact of COVID infections has declined, the impact of the isolation caused by COVID and the uncertainty in the world around us continues to plague the mental health of our youth. Feedback from Illusion’s Student Advisory Board – a group of students from across the state who advise Illusion on its programming – tells us that this lingering effect of COVID isn’t limited to any one group of students in any one socio-economic category in any one part of our state. Urban, suburban, and rural youth are hurting. Our arts programming helps students express their concerns and delivers resources and help to those that need it the most.

Watch how KEEPIN' IT REAL helps students deal with the issue of mental health by clicking here.

Matched dollar-for-dollar, your gift enables Illusion to use the arts & help underserved youth across Minnesota cope with issues of mental health, social justice and negative peer pressure!

Students Dropping Out in the 8th Grade 

Project TRUST Peer at Blue Earth High School

Chronic absenteeism has been a lingering effect of the pandemic. A recent Minnesota Department of Education study reported that 30% of Minnesota students missed more than 10% of their school days during 2022. This is double the rate in 2019 when only 15% missed so many school days. This confirms the anecdotal information we’ve seen locally where teachers tell us about the increased number of students dropping out of school – during 8th grade! We know that a robust engagement in the arts can help students stay focused, motivated and in school. As such, we’ve continued to work hard to make our programs available at low or no cost to as many schools as possible. We’ve also expanded our programming to include students in the upper elementary grades, as well as our traditional middle and high school programs. 

Watch students creating and rehearsing their own KEEPIN' IT REAL scenes by clicking here.

Please be part of the solution. Your gift will be matched, 1:1, by Illusion’s Board of Directors! 


One teacher who engaged with a KEEPIN’ IT REAL performance program at Justice Page Middle School on February 7, 2023, had this to say:

“I think that every middle school student in Minnesota should see this show, and their parents, too, because it shows what the students are REALLY having to deal with on a daily basis.”

The following are a few student comments from a KIR program last year in response to the questions, “What did you learn from the program:”

  • “Don’t just give your body to someone, like how you don’t just give your phone to someone.”
  • “Ignore people that want to bring you down.”
  • “I learned you don’t have to be someone you’re not.”
  • “Treat other people with kindness 'cause you don’t know what they‘ve been through.”

Keith Halperin, Illusion Board President

Bonnie Morris, Producing Director

Michael Robins, Executive Producing Director

Tree O’Halloran, Associate Producing Director

Giving Activity

Organization Data


Organization name

Illusion Theater and School, Inc.

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture





Social Media