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Police and Civilians Gather Virtually To Continue Mission Of Irondale Community Workshop

To Protect, Serve and Understand: The Zoomcast will take place on Thursday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m. 

Police and Civilians Gather Virtually To Continue Mission Of Irondale Community Workshop

Irondale, Brooklyn's leading think-tank theater ensemble, with participation from the New York Police Department, will host a live zoomcast performance and discussion on December 17 at 7:00 p.m. on Irondale's YouTube Channel. The latest iteration of their one-of-a-kind workshop To Protect, Serve and Understand, the evening invites past participants to continue the work needed to foster a change between tense police and civilian interactions, expectations and accountability. Breaking down the fourth wall through art, activism and discussion, the workshop is built upon actor-training techniques and explores unique problem solving and real-life communication skills that both police and civilians can employ in their encounters with each other. Creating an understanding that lays the groundwork for a grassroots change within the community, the virtual workshop simulation will be moderated by members of the Irondale ensemble.

While the 10-week, 40-hour, in-person workshops have been held biannually since 2015, the last two cycles of To Protect, Serve, and Understand (TPSU) have been sidelined due to the extended COVID theater closures in New York City. Following a summer of protests and a widespread demand for racial equality and police reform, the evening offers conversations about real-time current events in the community and on a national scale through the participation of workshop alumni. Viewers will have a front row seat to the effective acting exercises that employ critical listening skills, in addition to scripted monologues based on the participants interviewing each other. This methodology proves that speaking as "the other" enables the participants to gain new perspective that potentially leads to greater compassion and greater understanding. The monologues, with dialogue and in-depth conversations on topical issues, will comprise the evening. The goal of both the evening and the program at large is to foster empathy and a deeper understanding of how we can work together to create a more safe and harmonious community.

"We are facing an unmistakable national movement that has the power to rewrite the story of how policing can work in this country," explains Irondale Executive Director and TPSU founder Terry Greiss. "In this time of forced physical distance from each other, it only emphasizes that what we need most is to listen and to hear each other, without bias," he continues. "It takes work, and it takes guts, and New Yorkers have guts."

To date, more than 100 police officers and civilians have participated in To Protect, Serve, and Understand in eight series of workshops. Each 10-week session culminates in a public performance, often with audiences at capacity and seen by more than 2,500 community members. These critical conversations continue with an official To Protect, Serve, and Understand podcast, featuring alumni from various workshop groups. The podcast is available on iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/tpsus-podcast/id1458368437?mt=2.

To Protect, Serve and Understand: The Zoomcast will take place on Thursday, December 17th at 7:00 p.m.

The live discussion will stream on the company's YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/IrondaleEnsemble/featured


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