Based in New York City, Our Time Theatre Company is a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to providing an artistic home for young people who stutter. Our Time offers an environment free from ridicule where young people who stutter discover the joy of creating and performing original theatre and music. There is no audition for prospective members, no performance experience necessary, and Our Time offers its New York City programming free of charge. Usually kids come back to Our Time year after year, fostering a feeling of community and family.
The Our Time company is comprised of young people who stutter ages 8-18, who study acting, singing, playwriting, drumming, and dance with professional artists. Exercising these skills, the company members create original plays and music which they perform in New York City and around the world. Through its performances, Our Time educates people about the challenges and misconceptions of stuttering using theatre as a tool to demonstrate the vast capabilities of a group of people that is often misunderstood. At the same time, Our Time's message of listening, understanding, acceptance, and unconditional love transcends the boundaries of the specific issue of stuttering, motivating audiences to appreciate and celebrate everyone's unique voice.
Our Time was founded so that young people who stutter would have a place to learn, grow, and communicate without fear of being judged or ignored. Our Time is a place where the everyday rush of society does not exist. It is a haven where people who stutter have as much time as they need to speak, and where their true feelings, ideas, and dreams are validated. At Our Time, people who stutter are encircled by others who speak as they do - and who understand their humiliations and their victories. Our Time is a place where kids who may have been afraid to speak in other settings are encouraged to express themselves, with the assurance that what they say will be heard, acknowledged, and respected. In this nurturing environment, it is understood that as long as a person is speaking from their heart, they cannot be wrong, and others will listen to what they are saying, no matter how long it takes for that person to say it.
Founded in the fall of 2001 by Taro Alexander, an actor and person who stutters, Our Time was the first and remains the only organization of its kind. Mr. Alexander has stuttered since the age of five. Like many people who stutter, he grew up feeling isolated and ashamed of his speech. He did not meet another person who stutters until he was 26 years old. Despite his fears, Mr. Alexander followed his love of theatre and it was onstage that his confidence began to grow. As an adult with a successful career in the performing arts, Mr. Alexander dreamed of helping young people who stutter develop confidence and find their voice. Our Time is the realization of that dream. Our Time offers year-round programming and serves a diverse group of young people.
Our Time is proud to have been embraced by a distinguished group of artists who have contributed to the success of the organization through the generous gifts of their time and talent. These participating artists include: Jane Alexander, Lauren Ambrose, Scott Bakula, Lewis Black, Jeffrey Blitz, Michael Cerveris, Mariska Hargitay, Maurice Hines, Richard Kind, Frank Langella, James Lapine, Adriane Lenox, Peggy Lipton, Jesse L. Martin, Matthew Modine, Jason Moore, Cynthia Nixon, Kelli O'Hara, John Oliver, Adam Pascal, Mandy Patinkin, Austin Pendleton, Rosie Perez, Natalie Portman, Anthony Rapp, Phylicia Rashad, Sherie Rene Scott, Ron Rifkin, Ken Roberson, Ramon Rodriguez, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Paul Rudd, John Slattery, Fisher Stevens, Liz Tuccillo, Mary Testa, Sam Waterston, Lucy Woodward, the casts of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Avenue Q, Spring Awakening, STOMP, and many, many more.
"This terrific theater company provides an artistic home for young people who stutter." --Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of New York City "I can testify to the fact that Our Time is the most powerful healing application of the arts for young people who stutter." --Phillip Schneider, Ed. D, Speech-Language Pathologist, Associate Professor Emeritus, Queens College, CUNY
"Over the years, the Our Time plays have continued to amaze me, with themes that eloquently speak to the passions and concerns of a diverse group of young people. Company members have the courage to speak from their hearts and their minds - irrespective of the fluency of their speech." --Gerrie Nachman, Our Time Parent
"Because of Our Time, I am WAY more outspoken, because I figure that I shouldn't be ashamed of stuttering. I mean, come on, I got a standing ovation for it. How many people my age can say they have done an Off-Broadway play, been interviewed for the New York Daily News and New York One, and actually do something on Saturdays?" --Corom Buksha, teen company, age 16