Irondale has been a part of Halifax for a long time – since 1991 in fact. Over these 20 years we have created a ton of work in a lot of different ways.
Creating and presenting new works of theatre for audiences, making commissioned pieces for conferences, rallys and events, working with children, youth, activists – everybody really – to help them to make and use theatre.
In 2004, we started a School of Ensemble Theatre to continue to foster the growth and development of ensemble theatre, and of the artists who are part of Irondale. As our structure has changed over the years, most of this work has continued to grow and thrive. But not the plays. The shows that we create for the public have been glaringly absent. Now that will change.
This August, Irondale starts work on developing a new piece of theatre. The starting point is Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Led by Karen Bassett, Irondale members will delve into the text, the ideas and images and start the process of creating a play together. It’s going to be amazing!
Irondale artists have continued to collaborate, train and envision, showing both a commitment to working together and artistic excellence in every endeavour. While the ensemble has continued to work together in so many ways, Irondale’s offerings of theatre created for the public, inspired purely by artistic interest, have been missed by its audience and its members alike. I have been waiting for the idea, the story that would thrive with an Irondale approach and inspire me to cross over from 15 years in the acting core to the position of director. That pathway opened to me after reading The Picture of Dorian Gray , a novel rich with theatrically evocative images. A much discussed theme of the novel nicely dovetails this point of departure: some scholars believe the story essentially illustrates Wilde’s belief in art for the purity of its aesthetic. It is Dorian’s earthly conflict that erodes the picture. This project will be a return to the Irondale aesthetic: intensely, company created, dynamically physical, and socially resonant theatre.