Catherine Corcoran is a prime example of how life has a funny way of coming full circle.
A native of Holland, the 27-year-old remembers many childhood days spent putting on little shows in the living room for family and friends. Now, after a move to New York City and appearances in a number of films, including Netflix’s Terrifier and Hallmarks’s Last Vermont Christmas, the actress is back home in that oh-so-familiar living room.
Only this time, she’s bringing laughter and relaxation to thousands of fans through her tri-weekly Instagram Live series Literature with Catherine, which has so far raised more than $12,000 for nonprofit organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The first night, I decided I’d get on and maybe raise some aid because unemployment rates were so high, particularly for freelancers and so many people that I knew,” Corcoran told The Times.
But the Council Rock South alum’s mission goes beyond fundraising. She wants to provide a sense of lightheartedness in these dark days of social distancing. During each episode, Corcoran reads a popular children’s book while sipping wine and adding in some humor for her adult audience.
“It’s become a really silly way to connect. Where everything’s so heightened and so intense, it brings a sense of laughter and childhood wonder. We’re finding that these books all have these really silly but universal messages to them that we as adults can resonate with,” Corcoran said. “It’s become this wonderful extended therapy that seems to be benefiting people in multiple ways, so I figured I’d just keep doing it while I’m here.”
So far, Corcoran has read The Little Engine That Could, All The Places You [Won’t] Go, The Emperor’s New Clothes and How The Grinch Stole Christmas, during which she was joined by her Terrifier co-star David Howard Thornton, who starred as the Grinch on Broadway. More than 3,000 fans tuned in for this reading, with a portion of the funds donated to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.
“They’re all-encompassing,” Corcoran said of the organization. “They focus their aid based on the need in each area. So, if you have a higher elderly population in your community, they’ll focus on relief geared toward elderly individuals. If you have a lot of children in your community, they’ll focus on that. If you have a lot of immuno-compromised individuals, they’ll focus on that, which I just really love.”
Additional recipients have included small businesses like Caddis Eye Appliances, Solento Tequila, Natures Paradise Organics and Good Earth Beauty. Corcoran includes links to the donation page before and after each episode, and donors are invited to let the nonprofit know Literature with Catherine inspired them to help the cause.
The series typically takes place on Sundays, Thursdays and a TBD day, at 10 p.m., depending on the schedules of her guests. Corcoran celebrated a particularly successful episode on Sunday, April 19, which saw thousands watch her read an excerpt from The Lord of the Rings in a more relaxed setting.
Though Corcoran admitted she usually isn’t on social media that much, she’s enjoying her time interacting with fans, answering questions about her films and sharing memorable anecdotes from her Bucks County upbringing.
While reading Where The Wild Things Are, Corcoran reflected on her Council Rock days, when she and her friends concocted a plan to see the movie the night it came out in theaters.
“We had a whole sleepover on a school night and then the next day, you came into school a little bit late with your Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and it was the coolest thing because everyone knew that you did something the night before,” she said.
Overall, Corcoran is grateful to be back in Holland, despite the unprecedented circumstances her return is under. She’s been able to “fall in love with this community all over again,” with strolls through Tyler State Park and messages of support from former teachers.
“New York really feels like Ground Zero right now, and there’s something wonderful and beautiful about being able to come home and feel safe. A lot of that has to do with the community here and the familiarity of it,” she said. “I hope that, on a more optimistic scale with what’s going on, we learn to slow down and value each other, to take less and give a little more. You forget the simple things that make all the difference, just laughing with people and being present.”
Literature with Catherine airs at 10 p.m., three times a week, and can be viewed at instagram.com/instacatherinec.
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com