The Irondale Ensemble Project, founded in 1976, is a direct descendent of the ensemble movement in American theater, birthed in the cauldon of the Great Depression and coming of age through the progressive politics of the 1960's. Irondale was founded as a reaction to and as an argument with a theater that has become increasingly wed to the "entertainment industry" and "market culture". We create theater that is a strong voice for social change, and is characterized by a deep commitment to artistic excellence. Through the content of our performances, and by using theater as an educational tool in schools, prison, shelters, and other community settings, we believe that we have a direct, often life-changing effect on our audience. Central to our work is an exploration of collaboration, creativity, pedagogy and the process of theater-making through the long association of professional artists. We conduct this exploration in traditional and non-traditional theater spaces. Irondale combines research, education and performance to create socially relevant theater. We serve a community that is defined by a common willingness to confront ideas and engage n inquiry; it transcends class, race and geographic boundary. Irondale rejects the values of dominant culture forms that want us tranquilized, want us to no longer recognize ourselves and want to colonize our imaginations. Finally we believe in and trust the value of our own idealism. This is ultimately what sustains the company, infuses the work with hope, and allows us to pass on particular working methods to other artists and groups who seek to create healthier, more vital and more beautiful communities however they may define them.
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