Back in schools!

workshop 30S t a n d i n g  B y
addressing bullying through theatre 

We’re pleased to announce that our long-standing workshop dealing with bullying is once again available to NS schools.  Booking now for March & April, 2016.

Standing By is a hands-on workshop addressing bullying made for students in grades 4 – 6. In a classroom, three actors and a facilitator work with students, one class at a time, to create scenes of bullying drawn from their lives.  We create a safe space to try ideas.  To put them in play without the inherent risks that happen in the real world.  The learning that happens here can serve to create change out there.   Click here for more details.


In situations of bullying, there are at least three roles that can describe the people involved; someone who is bullying, a person being bullied, and observers or bystanders. Bystanders make up approximately 80% of student populations. Standing By looks at bullying incidents in their entirety, but focuses on the bystanders. 


Currently, the workshop is subsidized 50% by  PERFORM! with the generous support of Telus Community Fund  (and mileage costs are covered too!)

That means that you can book a 3-workshop day for your school for $255, or a 4-workshop day for $340!  You can book multiple days for your school.


We are booking in the HRSB starting March 10th and in areas outside of HRM beginning April 1st.  


Questions? Contact Andrea at or 902 429-1370.                      To book now, click here.


Get Off The Box!! Sept 26 -28, 2014

Then & NowWe were thrilled to present an excerpt from our 1996 production of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People as part of  Ibsen Bites  hosted by Lunasea Theatre.  We chose the town meeting where Stockman is finally declared to be the people’s enemy. Our hero proclaims the town’s economic cash cow, the Springs, to be poisoned. The people rebel.  In our adaptation, this meeting explodes into a cacophonous, destructive dancing of the tarantella.  True to Irondale’s mandate to produce theatre filtered through a social justice lens, the original production included a chorus who voiced the safety violations leading up to the Westray mine explosion.  A testament to  Irondale’s aesthetic, the production was boldly physical and political. The play was originally directed by Stephen Cross and choreographed by Andrea Leigh Smith. The company doing this excerpt have all worked with Irondale for different spans of time over the past 20 years.  Our thanks to St. George’s Church, and Lunasea for the chance to put it on its feet.

the company  Karen Bassett, townsperson    Stephanie MacDonald, townsperson    Jim Fowler, Mayor    Theo Pitsiavas, Dr. Stockman   Andrea Ritchie costumes & production

Announcing workshop dates for Summer 2014

Dal CollageWe’re  pleased to announce the dates for the    Irondale School of Ensemble Theatre’s summer workshop 2014.

Three weeks of intensive, engaging work.

July 28 – Aug 15, 2014

Click here for details

The Courageous Actor

DSC07539a weekend workshop with Stephen Cross
August 2 – 4  Fri 5 – 8:30pm  Sat & Sun  10am – 5pm
at Danspace.  1531 Grafton St.
Fee: $250   To register email  or call 902 429-1370

Come spend the weekend working & playing in theatre.
The workshop will create a space to bridge between creative  ideas and their physical form. Wrangling with poetry and images.  Through improvisation and the mask, we’ll explore and demand the physical presence of the actor – “the courageous person in front…” so we can eliminate self-consciousness.

Stephen Cross is the Artistic Director of the school.  This summer, we’re offering just one 2½ day workshop.  The work of this weekend draws on the work of improvisation (Spolin) and the physical theatre (Lecoq), among others.

“How can we serve new work with old thinking?  We can’t.  So we have to develop ways to live artistically, to come to the experience of a new project as eager students to a delightful lesson.  This skill serves the theatre artist in all aspects of life in an ensemble.  My work is to encourage the student to know keenly the physical world around them.  By gaining awareness, they become increasingly available to taking on and embodying the physical world.  This is an expansion of Irondale’s commitment to experience and response to experience.  But the physical theatre brings its own set of rules.  Through it, I work to bring the student to know where the mind ends and the body begins.  This work allows them to approach neutrality. From here they can take on the work of the “other” – elements, animals, colours, sounds, materials, and characters.  They need to come to know themselves so they can live in their own body, and then to know the world so they can live in “other” bodies.”  –S.Cross

The weekend is an introduction to this work.  Full of movement, play and love for the theatre.  It’s going to be great!  Join us.

To register email  or call 902 429-1370

Scholarships available.  Contact Andrea Ritchie

Irondale School of Ensemble Theatre

Unfunny Words 4

“The practices, perspective and discipline I gained from the school have become the  groundwork for all of the work I do to this day. – Stewart Legere

the best 3-weeks of your summer.

Be engaged.

July 29 – Aug 16, 2013

Tuition  $1200/$1000

subsidized spots still available

Click the School tab for details.

Irondale at Nocturne art at night Saturday October 13th

Irondale members Karen Bassett, Margaret Legere, Natasha MacLellan & Andrea Ritchie have begun a new collaboration that will be shown at this year’s Nocturne. What this space for details coming soon!

Move and be moved. actors, dancers, theatre makers.

The best 3-weeks of your summer.

Join us in Halifax.

July 28 to August 15, 2014

Naomi Seifter chair standLed by Stephen Cross, this training will give you a foundation in this work and the tools to take it forward into your practice.  Andrea Leigh-Smith will lead dance and pilates training,  and there will be mask building with Andrea Ritchie.  Other enesmble members will take part as mentors for students.
Dynamic, engaging training in physical and ensemble theatre.  Irondale’s long tradition of ensemble theatre and improvisation comes together with the work of the physical theatre. A collision of amazing ways of making theatre; a fantastic new energy. A wonderful environment for learning and creation.  The Irondale School of Ensemble Theatre is offering this workshop for emerging and established professional actors and other performers and creators who want to engage in creating and performing.
This 3 week intensive will focus on the actor creator. Daily training will involve performance classes, pilates, yoga, conditioning, acrobatics, dance, tai chi and mask building.  This workshop will be intense and very physical.  Full of enthusiasm, inspiration, hope and love for the theatre.                                                       So come. Be engaged mind and body in this dynamic theatre.
Deadline: We will take students until the workshop is full.  To apply for a subsidized spot, please apply by March 15, 2014. Artists who live in Nova Scotia, students of Dalhousie University, Syracuse University and Acadia University are eligible for a subsidy.
Accommodations:  Halifax is a small city full of universities. Five, in fact!  So there a many housing options. You can arrange to stay on one of the nearby campuses in residence, or we can help you find a sublet or a shared accommodation.
Other great reasons to come take this workshop: Halifax is a fun, walk-able city.  You’ll be close to lakes and ocean beaches  (to which we will take field trips…), terrific restaurants, tons of pubs & bars, an incredible local music scene, three circus schools,  an insane number of yoga studios, the weather in the summer is awesome ( warm/hot days, cooler nights), two major Farmer’s Markets, at the same time as the workshop there is a Busker Festival, the TD Halifax Jazz Festival….we could go on.

Tuition: $1200         With Subsidy: $1000

Apply now!    Send a letter of interest along with your resume and the name and contact information for 2 references to

Call or text 902 429-1370 or find us on Facebook.


Stephen Cross: Artistic Director, Performance, Conditioning & Tai Chi

Andrea Leigh-Smith : Pilates and Dance

Andrea Ritchie: Mask Building

Mission Statement

The Irondale School of Ensemble Theatre began in the summer of 2004.

It exists to advocate for the art of ensemble theatre, to train actors to be able to carry on the traditions of ensemble theatre, to engage in a dynamic involvement with the international ensemble theatre movement and to work to establish educational collaborations with other practitioners of ensemble theatre.

Fields of study for actors include collective creation, group writing and devising, the history of ensemble theatre, and community arts practice.