About Irondale Center
The Irondale Center for Theater, Education, and Outreach
in the BAM Cultural District
An Innovative Center For
Theater in a Dramatic, Revitalized Space
Imagine a dramatic, historic space filled with innovative theater by an award-winning Brooklyn-based ensemble company. Imagine high school students creating work under the guidance of experienced artists. Imagine children and senior citizens making theater about their own lives, and visiting ensemble companies from near and abroad presenting their work in a dynamic international performance center.
You’ve just imagined one of the most exciting new performance spaces in New York City— The Irondale Center for Theater, Education, and Outreach.
The Irondale Ensemble Project has had a rich, 25-year history of producing and teaching experimental theater with a strong voice for social change. So, when Irondale discovered a neglected, long-vacant former Sunday school space in the historic Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, the ensemble company saw its future – a vibrant, 7,300-square-foot center for creating and presenting inventive theater, as well as for using theater to educate children. The setting offers a perfect match with a like-minded organization, a culturally diverse church with activist roots dating back to this country’s abolitionist movement. And it also provided an opportunity for Irondale to play an important role in an exciting and growing cultural district.
With the support of those who love theater and community, Irondale has nearly completed a $2.6 million fundraising campaign to bring the highest quality ensemble theater and related programs to the BAM Cultural District. A projected opening in the fall of 2008 means that the Irondale Center will be the first new performance facility to open in the District.
A Simple Room: A Great Possibility
The Irondale Center for Theater, Education, and Outreach is a unique space that will be more than a theater. It will be a permanent laboratory to develop Irondale’s unique artistic and educational methods that can be replicated nationally and internationally. The special attributes of the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church’s former Sunday school room will help make that possible -- a grand room spanning 5,400 square feet on the ground, with 28-foot ceilings, a 1,900-square-foot mezzanine/gallery, gothic-style wall paintings and stained glass windows. Irondale’s plan is to retain the original scale, character and details of this distinctive space. The Center will include a flexible, 200-seat performance space and much-needed offices for Irondale. The new Irondale Center will provide the company with an opportunity to grow Irondale's theater and community programming, and will include:
- Expanded education programs for school children and neighborhood teens, and professional development workshops for teachers;
- Weekend performances geared for families, free student matinees of Irondale productions and open workshops inviting community feedback;
- Guest performances showcasing student talents, emerging artists and visiting ensemble companies;
- Collaborative programs with the many established and emerging arts groups that make up the BAM Cultural District;
- Programs limited only by the needs and interests of the community: internships, panels and seminars on theater, education; workshops that use theater for special issues and so much more…