At our new home in the BAM Cultural District, Theatre for a New Audience will neighbor many emerging and established arts organizations. Among them is the Irondale Ensemble Project, a 25-year-old experimental theatre company whose new home, The Irondale Center for Theater, Education, and Outreach, recently became the first new performance facility to open in the District.
Formerly housed in the Brooklyn High School of the Arts, The Irondale Center opened at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene in October 2008. The 7,400-square-foot facility features a flexible 180-seat production space, offices, and a visual art gallery. The space was carved out of a former Sunday school in the historic landmark, which once served as a stop on the Underground Railroad and has a long and storied history of activism.
This serves as an ideal home base for Irondale, whose mission is rooted in community involvement and the use of theatre to effect social change. They aim to be “a true people’s theatre,” says Executive Director and co-founder Terry Greiss. “A place that presents work of the highest professional quality, where the entire community feels a sense of ownership.”
Irondale is a permanent ensemble of multi-disciplined artists who participate in all aspects of the company: performing, teaching in schools and prisons, and working in the community. Their high school education program focuses on collaboration skills. “Improvisation is the bottom-line vocabulary of our approach,” says Greiss. “The goal is building ensembles-developing the group mind.”
Irondale will open a new play, a co-production with 651 Arts called In This Place, on January 29. For more information on their work, call (718) 488-9233 or visit http://www.irondale.org/.