Irondale Ensemble
A performance of 1599 at the Irondale Center in Fort Greene. (Photo via Irondale Ensemble / Twitter)

President Donald Trump is seriously considering putting nine domestic spending programs on the chopping block in the name of budget cuts, including The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Legal Services Corporation, AmeriCorps, and the National Endowments for the Arts and the Humanities.

Coming off a successful remounting of their impressive play 1599, Irondale Ensemble has announced that they will use their Fort Greene theater for a performance series which will give voice to a myriad of artists who feel threatened by White House policies.

Beginning this Friday and taking place throughout the month of March, Irondale has chosen to suspend regular performances and instead create a curated series called Not Normal: Art in Resistance In the Time of Trump, a forum to “publically respond to the newly implemented intimidation tactics of the administration, and have their voices heard in a safe and supportive space,” the company said in a statement.

Jim Niesen
Irondale Artistic Director Jim Niesen (Photo credit: Amanda Hinkle)

Jim Niesen, the Artistic Director of The Irondale Ensemble believes strongly in providing an opportunity for individuals and small companies. “We want to open this up for individual people or smaller groups that need a platform or microphone,” he says.

Niesen credits Irondale’s Facilities Manager Meredith Cody, as well as actors Alex Spieth and Beckie Rivera for taking the lead on the performance series. Rivera is an ensemble member who produces their monthly series, called “Art Buffet.”

Niesen explains that they’ve had strong response during the application process, and roughly 30 pieces will be performed throughout March.

And the diversity of works submitted has been exciting. “We’ll have short plays, music, and readings,” he explains. “They’ll be an interactive vocal voice installation featuring voices from all over the world.”

Each performance will be roughly 90 minutes and feature different work each evening.

1599 by Irondale Ensemble
A scene from Henry V in the recent production 1599 by Irondale Ensemble. (Photo credit: Nat Nichols)

Irondale’s Executive Director Terry Greiss hopes the series will provide a strong sense of community for the artists and “will be a source of inclusive conversation, education, and empowerment in navigating through whatever is coming next.”

Irondale has described 2017 as a year of “rebooting, reimagining and taking the next first step.” And while the ensemble is preparing to rehearse the massive undertaking of Aeschylus’ The Oresteia, their reboot has already been well underway.

The 34-year-old company isn’t slowing down anytime soon. After all, nothing is normal for Irondale.


NOT NORMAL: Art in Resistance in the Time of Trump
Where: Irondale Ensemble, 85 South Oxford Street (at Lafayette Avenue)
When: March 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, and 24 from 7:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Ticket Information: Tickets to the series are free to the public.

2 thoughts on “With Arts Under Siege In The Age Of Trump, Irondale Ensemble Resists

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