“There is no hope unless you and I sit side by side at the site of loss, telling each other the story of that night”
The Stones of Litfa – Marc Kaminsky

Where Officers and Community Create Art

Watch the latest performance here

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. In 2021, Irondale’s unique theatre workshop and performance for bridging differences, confronting complexity and rediscovering our shared humanity resumes this season!

Our ninth and all-new ensemble cast of community members and police officers will join founding members and facilitators Terry Greiss, Rivka Rivera and Michael-David Gordon for 10 weeks of improvisational training, in which they learn and apply the tools of the actor to be heard, bear witness to others’ perspectives, and spotlight needed change.

Always professionally facilitated and undeniably FUN, TPSU welcomes all viewpoints. New York City police officers participate on duty time, but this workshop and all content is created exclusively by the unique casts and the Irondale Ensemble Project.

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.

Watch a video about the series here.


More about it:


Broadway World: “Peter Hedges Joins Irondale and NYPD in Fostering Change in Brooklyn Through Theater”

TPSU Podcast

Now, with our first podcast, that conversation can continue with alumni from various workshop groups.
Listen to the TPSU Podcast. Available on SpotifyiTunes and Stitcher.
Episode 1 “We’re All a Part of that Matrix”
Episode 2 “Brooklyn Forever”
Episode 3 “What do you see?”

Watch back: To Protect, Serve and Understand Round 9

Want to support TPSU?

Whether it’s subsidizing civilian stipends or contributing a communal meal or videography skills, you can help us finance and continue this profound work. There are many options and ways to support.
Please contact Development Director Victoria Entel or Terry Greiss to discuss

Make a one-time donation to TPSU

TPSU Zoomcast

In 2020, when we couldn’t be together in person, we promoted virtual editions of To Protect, Serve and Understand™, inviting alumni to continue the difficult dialogue and work needed to foster change in police and civilian interactions, expectations, and accountability.
You can learn more about it and watch past videos here.

The Space at Irondale
85 South Oxford Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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

Irondale is an innovative, community centered theater really is by visionary leadership. They make great shows. They're good people. Go see their stuff.

We experience a great pleasure every time we have come to Irondale . Irondale is a celebration of the art and humanity.


Visit Us

It’s Easy to Get to Irondale
in the heart of Brooklyn’s Cultural District

85 South Oxford Street
Fort Greene, Brooklyn 11217

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