The Origin Story

“The theatrical production shares my lived experiences and is the perfect way to help people understand how Folded Map™ was created”


From an Idea to Reality

In October of 2018, Johnson was approached by Collaboraction Theatre Company with an idea to turn the project into a work of theatre. One of Johnson’s map twins happened to be Chicago theater artist Brighid O’Shaughnessy. The pair met through the Folded Map™ project, and together they devised the on-stage adaptation. Another co-deviser who worked on the play adaptation is Brit Cooper Robinson, who Tonika met through one of her Folded Map speaking engagements. In January, the theatrical adaptation of Tonika Johnson’s Folded Map project debuted to four sold out shows part of Collaboraction’s performance series, Encounter. The play also had a feature performance in Englewood at Kennedy King College on February 9th to an audience of 300+. The production features vignettes of Tonika’s childhood in Englewood that led to her observations about Chicago’s segregation while attending Lane Tech College Prep High School on the North Side and during her daily commute there from Englewood. Actress Elana Elyce plays Tonika Johnson in the theatrical version of her project. Click to watch an excerpt of the play’s opening performance. *Video Credit: Butterfly Productions at

Interested in bringing the Folded Map™ play to your org or educational institution? Email


Brit Cooper Robinson, co-devisor

Brit Cooper Robinson, co-devisor

Brighid O’Shaughnessy, co-devisor  and co-director

Brighid O’Shaughnessy, co-devisor
and co-director

“…co-written with a Folded Map participant, this play is another beautiful example of what can happen when people from different lived experiences meet, share a common interest, and pursue a relationship on that commonality.”