I first met Mary Tierney at a reading with the Irish American Writer’s and Artists Salon at the Cell in Chelsea recently on one balmy summer night. She had just done a riveting dramatic read of a play that was being workshopped in front of the audience’s eyes.
In getting to know her, I discovered that she was putting time “into a bank” in an effort to help a fellow actor. When she’s not doing that she is giving free acting classes to aspiring thespians.
This is all part of Time Banks NYC, an innovative TimeBanksNYC is a free resource for connecting individuals and organizations that recognize that each person has talents to share, and that the overall community is strengthened when neighbors help one another with a wide range of services.
For every hour that a TimeBanksNYC member provides a service or shares a skill with another member, they earn a time credit for the exchange. This time credit can then be redeemed for a service from someone else, and so on.
“After I finished graduate school in the seventies, I went over to Dublin for two weeks and stayed five years,” Tierney says.
“I got a part at the Peacock and for five years, I was an actor that was paid and that was so much fun.
So I came back here and worked with the Irish Arts Center and then started Lunchtime Theater. Before long, I started my own theater on the East Side because a lot of old ladies wouldn’t go over to 11th Avenue and 51st Street.”
Tierney diverted to work on the Ed Koch campaign for 10 years and got a birds-eye view of the visceral power that courses through the city, and has since returned to her first love. She is committed to making a difference in the lives of aspiring actors and playwrights.
According to the website, the goals of TimeBanksNYC are to identify and build on the assets that neighborhood residents have to offer one another, foster a sense of togetherness within and between New York City neighborhoods, and promote skill sharing as a way of accessing services and support, especially in hard financial times.
So, if you have talent to share or something to teach, you can join the TimeBanksNYC program. Who knows? You might get some loving back your way as you’re trying to write some lyrics to that tune or get an editor to look at that manuscript that’s been rattling around your desk.
To get plugged into Tierney’s acting classes, log onto Theater for the New City (155 First Avenue at 10th Street). You must be a member in the TimeBanksNYC program to participate. For more information, log onto https://www.timebanksnyc.org.