Seeking 7 cops and 7 civilians!
Round 3 begins February 28!
Email now to sign up for an interview


This is documentary theater-making created with ‘experts of the everyday’ amateur performers, but real people experiencing and dealing with crises in our society and bringing this direct experience to the Irondale stage.
This whole range of documentary work, on the borderline of journalistic reportage, results in productions that can be more enlightening and illuminating than works seen on the stages of our traditional theaters.

Are you interested in:
Being a civilian participant in future TPSU workshops?
Bringing this program, or creating one like it, in your city?
Supporting this program financially?
Contact: Terry Greiss 718 -488-9233

Jeff Lunden’s report on To Protect, Serve, and Understand aired on December 31, 2016 : to listen the entire report Click HERE 

“The exercise when you are doing the three things at the same time you are paying attention to what’s happening behind you, plus what’s going on in front of you, plus what’s coming at you from across the hall. I don’t know if you did that on purpose but that’s kind of like our job.”
Officer Jaime Ramirez, 73rd Precinct, Brooklyn

Irondale’s To Protect, Serve, and Understand project brings together civilians and police officers to create semi-improvised performances of monologues and scenes. For ten Tuesday nights, this ensemble will get together for dinner and an evening of games, learning to improvise, and to tell their own stories and “step into each other’s shoes”. The workshops will culminate in FREE public performances on December 16 & 17 at 8PM.

Irondale has invited the New York Police Department to join with them in developing a community program that will use theatrical improvisation to build communication and empathy between officers and the communities they are charged to protect and serve. Over a period of ten weeks, officers, teenagers and adult community members will learn to play together. They will be able improvise, to tell their own stories, and “step into each other’s shoes” to ultimately create an original and spontaneous performance that demonstrates what can come from mutual trust and empathetic understanding. Our goal is not to create actors but to create the opportunity to learn and practice important life-skills that will serve officers on the job as they attempt to sensitively deal with residents in their communities.cop header

To play together we must learn to speak each other’s language. And by playing together we begin to break down insecurities we may have that come from not understanding. We can actually teach each other in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere—an atmosphere of joy, play and healthy competition.

These workshops will be recorded by documentary filmmakers from the award winning production company, Press and the Public Project, and used for internal training by the NYPD. The raw footage from the film can later be made into a documentary film for national distribution in collaboration with HBO, Showtime, PBS or another producing partner.


  • Friday & Saturday May 5 & 6 ( more information coming soon)

This is a free performance, but seating is limited, so we suggest making a reservation. Click HERE to make a reservation using code FREE.


Irondale’s Letter of Support from NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton

Help support this project. Make a DONATION now.

For more information contact Executive Director Terry Greiss at 718-488-9233

This project is supported with funds from
Charles & Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation
The Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation
Malcolm & Dorothy Knapp
The Laura B. Vogler Foundation

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs

National Storytelling Network