Not long after the performance of Shelter & Place, the project I conducted with teens and young adults who were building their way out of being unhoused, a colleague from the GCDD Storytelling Project called me up to say that she’d been watching and paying attention to Shelter & Place. Given the challenges of working with people who have intellectual & developmental disabilities in the pandemic, she wondered if it might be a template we could use for another project.
Hence, Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow was born! The project was called “Treasure Maps” because of the life maps process of helping people discover and cultivate their stories, but also because we were on a journey both physical and metaphysical to uncover the best stories.
This was the third iteration of GCDD’s Storytelling Project on which we partnered. I had previously traveled the state of Georgia and written over 100 stories for them, as well as hosted/co-wrote a podcast for them in 2019. With this version of our partnership, I offered the heart of StoryMuse’s vision for helping people tell their stories in real-time spaces, with the COVID twist of outdoor, interactive pop-up theatre in order to stay pandemic-safe.
Together, we made a feature length film comprised of 10 short films featuring individual storytellers across the state of Georgia, as well as one audio story “bonus track” intended to be played in the car on the way to. the show.
Treasure Maps is a rare masterpiece conceptualized by StoryMuse in collaboration with GCDD. The project centers the lives and artistry of people with developmental disabilities while weaving live performance with sharply filmed vignettes filmed onsite. The advocacy impact of this work was and remains powerful, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to work with StoryMuse’s Shannon Turner.
Photos by local photographers in each of the six cities where Treasure Maps performed.
In late June / early July 2021, we hit the road to host six pop-up shows in Columbus, Savannah, Macon, Athens, Dahlonega, and Atlanta. Along with the long-term partners, L’arche Atlanta and Resurgens Impact Consulting, we had countless partners along the way. Thanks to indomitable local teams, each show was like its own mini-festival, featuring some combination of food trucks, local bands, and art vendors.
Coaching & Process
After a statewide call for storytellers who had intellectual or developmental disabilities, I hosted a free sample storytelling workshop for any and all interested participants.
We had 70 participants on that first call!
From there, more than 30 people applied. We narrowed down the application pool based on geographic distribution, race, gender, disability, and other considerations.
In the end, we selected 10 paid storytellers. (I always advocate for storytellers to be paid in these types of opportunities, both because these are their stories that are being shared, and because it is very much a professional experience.)
Throughout Spring 2021, I provided several group workshops and individual coaching sessions before we arrived in storytellers’ cities for filming in early May.
Press for Treasure Maps
- WABE’s City Lights (starts at 17:45)
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
- The Red & Black
- WUGA Athens
- WJCL Savannah
- Connect Savannah
- Treasure Maps: The Georgia Storytelling Roadshow visits Macon
- Video Podcast in Columbus, GA with WRBL’s Bob Jeswald
- Savannah Now Article
- Podcast with G100 Savannah’s Mia Mance (Starts around the 15 minute mark)
- Original Treasure Maps Press Release (February 2021)