The Irondale Ensemble Project is as close as we come these days to the Elizabethan acting companies that once presented Shakespeare’s plays to the Earl of Leicester, Sir Francis Drake and the Virgin Queen of England. ...What is on offer is the miracle of the word made flesh. I wish you joy in it.” —Lewis Lapham, editor of Lapham’s Quarterly
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The roots of Irondale’s work can be traced back to the shared training of its founding members. Much of this comes from the work of Viola Spolin and her son Paul Sills (creator of Chicago’s Second City).

This training is at the heart of the company’s workshops which reach young people and adults in schools, colleges and other institutions.





These workshops focus on:

  • the exercises and techniques Irondale uses in the rehearsal room
  • including learning through theatre games
  • and exercises that teach imagination, structure, strong connections to intuitive behavior the translation of intellectual content into visceral experience
  • and the understanding and the building of the group or ensemble
  • and the strengthening of connections between people through heightening physical awareness of the space.

Irondale also offers workshops based on productions, (this season Dead End and The Murals of Rockefeller Center) giving an intimate insight into how Irondale develops its work and exploring the universal themes that lie beneath them and drive the reason for their existance.

Dead End: the challenges of growing up in and attempting to escape from urban poverty.

The Murals of Rockefeller Center: the role of the hero (Charles Lindbergh first man to sly solo across the Atlantic) and the anti-hero (depression era John Dillinger) and America’s continued fascination with and need for such figures.

All workshops are led by Irondale Artistic Director Jim Niesen and the members of the Irondale Ensemble. Content is adjusted to suit the needs and age levels of participants.

Click here to find out more about Fall Classes and to Register