To Protect, Serve and Understand

Welcome to Round 7

In 2015 Irondale invited the New York Police Department to join them in developing a community program that would 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, seven officers and seven community members come together to eat, talk, and play together. They learn to improvise, tell their own stories, and “step into each other’s shoes.” The workshops culminate in original and spontaneous public performances that show what can come from mutual trust and empathetic understanding.

These workshops are 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 will be available for a documentary film for national distribution. See the series here.

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

What they Say

The exercise when you are doing the three things at the same time – you’re 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 Ramirez73rd Precinct, Brooklyn

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.

Terry GreissExecutive Director of Irondale

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.

Jim NiesenArtistic Director of Irondale

Thank You for Your Support

Help support this project. Make a DONATION now.

This project is supported in part by funding from the Brimstone Award as administered by the National Storytelling Network.

This project is also supported with funds from

  • Charles & Mildred Schnurmacher Foundation
  • The Jean and Louis Dreyfus Foundation
  • Malcolm & Dorothy Knapp
  • Slate Realty Arts and Culture Fund (S.P.A.C.E)
    The Laura B. Vogler Foundation
  • New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Brimstone Foundation National Storytelling Network

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