When Zachary Quinto was approached by director Jenna Worsham to participate in the online initiative “The Homebound Project,” his immediate response was “yes.” Launched earlier this May by Worsham and Catya McMullen, the effort pairs 50 actors and playwrights to create new theater works, which are in turn streamed to raise money for the charity No Kid Hungry.
“It struck me as such an organic and effective use of our collective time as we navigate the new normal of self-isolation,” Quinto said. “The opportunity to support an incredible cause and contribute to the well being of such a vulnerable segment of our population was a welcomed direction of energy.”
Presented over the course of five weeks, the project is broken into three exhibitions, each of which comprises new pairings of actors and playwrights. The resulting works are streamed over a run of four days, with pay-as-you-wish access starting at a donation level of $10. All proceeds benefit No Kid Hungry, a Share Our Strength campaign established to help end childhood hunger.
The first iteration of the project — which brought together Christopher Abbot, Lucy Thurber, Glenn Davis, Ren Dara Santiago, Jessica Hecht, Sarah Ruhl and more — raised $40,000 for the charity.
Quinto, paired with playwright Adam Bock, is set to join the next cohort of talent, whose works will begin streaming May 20 and will be available through May 24. Mary-Louise Parker, Uzo Aduba, Taylor Schilling, Betty Gilpin and others are also slated to participate.
“Getting to collaborate with Adam Bock and express some aspects of this experience creatively has been a real joy,” Quinto said. “I’m just grateful to be able to help even a little bit … and enormously impressed by Jenna and Catya McMullen and the community that they have activated for this meaningful project.”
The project joins a bumper crop of initiatives that have sprouted in the wake of the coronavirus to not only provide entertainment but also raise much-needed funding for those affected by illness, unemployment, food insecurity, rent burdens and more.
”Theater reminds us that we are all sitting together in the same problems and that all of us need each other,” Bock said. “I was eager to get involved with ‘The Homebound Project’ — service is a great way to counter despair, and the kids that Jenna Worsham and Catya McMullen wanted to serve have been on my mind a lot in the last months.”
He continued: “I hate the idea of any kid being hungry. I know Zachary does too. If one good thing has come out of this pandemic, it’s the reminder that we have to be here for each other and that help will be there for us too.”
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Additional actors and playwrights participating in this round of plays also include Anne Washburn, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Marco Ramirez, Nicholas Braun, Will Arbery, Lily Houghton, Kimberly Hébert Gregory, Loy A. Webb, Hari Nef, Ngozi Anyanwu, Bryna Turner, Christopher Oscar Peña, Brittany K. Allen, Sarah DeLappe, Babak Tafti and David Zheng.
“‘The Homebound Project’ grew from a desire to support frontline organizations by doing what we artists do best: creating and gathering, in newly imagined ways,” Worsham said. “The response from our artistic community of volunteers has been intense and moving. While theaters, schools and our physical places of gathering may be empty, it’s clear that our imaginations are not.”
Top Image: Zachary Quinto. Photo: Gage Skidmore.