project leader
Andrew M
latest update rss

the project

Sofa Stories is a participatory theatre experience that aims to amplify the stories of young Detroiters who have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity and have resorted to couch-surfing as a means to survive. On sofas placed in public spaces throughout the city, one audience member at a time will take a seat next to a performer to witness a brief monologue or vignette created with and by young people, and ultimately experience a unique theatrical event that creatively explores an often-invisible crisis.

A collaboration with the Detroit Phoenix Center, this project will engage young people who have direct experience of homelessness or housing insecurity and result in a participatory, site-specific performance consisting of solo performances performed by a combination of youth participants and professional actors that will raise awareness on this issue. Audiences will be invited to experience this performance on sofas places in a variety of indoor and outdoor public spaces across the city. The image of a sofa placed in a public space will serve as a visual reminder of how often young people resort to couch-surfing for temporary shelter. As the performer and audience member occupy the sofa together, the result will be an intimate performative experience. At each location audience members will be able to experience as many different individual performances as they like, meaning that everyone will have a slightly different experience as they witness separate monologues/vignettes in no particular order.

Performances will take place in multiple sites across the city that may include libraries, cultural sites, parks and outdoor public spaces beginning in summer 2020, culminating in a larger festival of performances in 2021.

the steps

We are in the early stages of developing this project over the next two years. In order to create this work, in year one we need to:

Raise $5000 for youth participant and artist fees and the cost of supplies/materials, printing, and marketing.

Provide outreach workshops at the Detroit Phoenix Center & other youth services organizations beginning in spring of 2020 to identify and recruit youth participants.

Devise and create short performance pieces with young people that will be presented as pop-up performances in summer 2020.

Develop a final draft of individual pieces with youth participants in late 2020/early 2021.


In 2021, we will then:

Rehearse and present an original performance that explores youth homelessness and housing insecurity across a variety of locations in Detroit beginnning in the spring.

Collaborate with at least 20 young people with direct experience of homelessness.

Employ approximately 8 local artists (performers, designers, technicians) in other production roles and provide volunteer opportunities for students interested in socially-engaged performance.

Use participatory performance as a way to critically and creatively engage audiences on the issue of youth homelessness and raise awareness of organizations committed to supporting vulnerable young people.

why we're doing it

As new housing developments appear throughout Detroit, there is an invisible crisis occurring as many vulnerable young people still worry about where they will sleep. While there are many innovative arts programs in the city that engage and empower young Detroiters, there is currently no significant arts programming that works specifically with young people who have experienced homelessness. It is our hope that this project will be the first of many collaborations with the Detroit Phoenix Center that will use the arts to support and empower this population and advocate for change on this urgent issue.


Disbursed Budget:

Year One Budget Breakdown

Youth Participant Stipends - $1200.00 (3 youth participants @$300 each)

Actor Fees - $1500.00 (3 actors @$500 each)

Designer Fees -$1000.00 (2 designers @$500 each)

Supplies & Materials - $800.00

Graphic Design & Marketing - $473.68

Printing - $150.00

TOTAL RAISED = $5,246.00
ioby Platform Fee $35.00
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%) $87.32


Original Budget:

Year One Budget Breakdown

Youth Participant Stipends - $1200.00 (3 youth participants @$300 each)

Actor Fees - $1500.00 (3 actors @$500 each)

Designer Fees -$1000.00 (2 designers @$500 each)

Supplies & Materials - $750.00

Graphic Design & Marketing - $400.00

Printing - $150.00

ioby Platform Fee     $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)    $156
TOTAL TO RAISE =    $5,191



Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraising campaign for Sofa Stories Detroit! We are pleased to say that we not only met our goal, but exceeded it!

Now that our campaign is wrapping up, we want to share our immense gratitude to everyone who donated to this project, especially during an incredibly difficult and challenging time.

We will be reaching out to those who provided contact information to share updates on the progress of our project, but you can also follow our project on social media (on Facebook & Instagram: SofaStoriesDetroit) and we'll also begin posting more updates to our website ( in the next few months.

The team is currently in the early stages of creating some short pieces that we hope to film and share online later this year. Due to recommended physical distancing measures, we may not do any in person performances this year but will work towards sharing our work with as wide an audience as possible in 2021. At that point we will also follow up with supporters to make sure you get the appropriate rewards for your donations!

Thanks again for all of your support as we aim to amplify the stories of young Detroiters who have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity. 

Andrew Morton (Project Director) & the Sofa Stories Team.



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


  • Shelby N.
  • James H.
  • Anonymous
  • Gayle B.
  • Kala K.
  • Sam G.
  • Anonymous
  • Scott H.
  • Stephanie D.
  • Anonymous
  • Rana A.
  • Janet Haley
  • Winowiecki-Tobin
  • Katherine Brown
  • Sandra Alberto
  • paula donnelly
  • The Cullingfords
  • Michelle N.
  • Elizabeth F. B.
  • Simon M.
  • Carol
  • Diane M.
  • Joe L.
  • Susan Wood
  • Amber C.
  • Autumn H.R. & Chris R.
  • Erin D.
  • Heather L.
  • Destiny D.
  • Sarah S.
  • Ric Roberts, Saginaw MI.
  • Iva H.
  • Jeremy Winchester
  • Denise N.
  • Sharon O.
  • Michelle and Curt
  • Cara G.
  • Purni Morell & Christian Roe
  • Lauren F.
  • The Schvitz
  • Sarah
  • Elizabeth K.
  • Charles and James Mollenkamp
  • Kristin P.
  • The Papasian family
  • Chrissie T.
  • Anonymous
  • Liz W
  • Matt H.
  • Elizabeth M.
  • Deirdre B.
  • Anonymous
  • Joshua Winowiecki
  • Natasha
  • Sherrine Azab & Jake Hooker
  • Keith & Gillian Morton