Fish: Ancient Asian, Jewish and Native American Cultural Symbol of Abundance

About CrowdSource for Life

CrowdSource for Life is a stage performance featuring true story monologues from non-directed kidney donors (NDDs), living kidney donors who gave kidneys to complete strangers.  NDDs are considered our society’s most extreme altruists.  A film crew recorded CrowdSource for Life live for Abundant, a feature length documentary about the complex human experience of giving.  The show developed easily understood themes of Community, Connection and Decision.  

Click here to see the online program for CrowdSource for Life.



Our connection to our community and our social groups make an impact on how we live and how we see the world.  As our cast’s stories show, our ability to see and understand our community and its members can lead to incredible experiences.



The connections we maintain and how we view them are a basic layer of our lives.  In our stories of extreme altruism, our cast explores how their understanding of connection and their acts to connect with others impacted their lives.



Most living kidney donors speak of a “lightning strike” moment of realization.  For many, the realization is also a decision to act.  We hope, for some, the film will inspire lightning strike moments for some when they realize their interest in donating a kidney.

Rehearsing cast member Michael Speck‘s story at Arts Mission Oak Cliff.


Cast member Trish Phillips and Stage Producer Avery-Jai Andrews


Director Donald Griswold and Stage Producer Avery-Jai Andrews.


Casting, Workshop, Practice and Rehearsal

In the summer of 2020, Maitri River Productions held a national open casting call asking for non-directed living kidney donors to send us their stories.  More than 75 kidney donors submitted stories for the storytelling show, CrowdSource for Life.  After a deliberate casting process which included zoom interviews for semi-finalists, 17 cast members were selected.  Cast members were located across the U.S. and one lived in the United Kingdom.  And then they waited for CrowdSource for Life and Abundant, to be funded.

In January 2023, production began and the cast participated in a storytelling workshop conducted by 2nd Story.  This virtual workshop taught the cast storytelling writing and techniques and brought the cast members together as a close team.  Through group instruction, small group participation and individual coaching, the cast of storytellers prepared for the final phases of production for CrowdSource for Life.  

In the months leading up to the stage production, cast members worked with director Donald Griswold and story editor Hal Karp to refine and practice final scripts.  Fourteen cast members remained for the final production which was staged on September 23, 2023 at The Majestic Theater in Dallas, Texas.

The cast arrived in Dallas for a Friday rehearsal where their stories were blended the work of our ensemble cast of dancers produced and choreographed by Avery-Jai Andrews and the original music and sound by sound designer/composer Brittany Padilla.  The cast had one day to rehearse with ensemble and music.

The next day, our cast of living donor storytellers took the stage at The Majestic Theater and performed their stories in CrowdSource for Life before a live audience of hundreds.

Why Storytelling?

Stories are a cornerstone of every culture.  At its most basic, storytelling creates connections.  This form of communication has a unique power to make the listener know they are not alone with their thoughts, feelings, and reality.  

Through our intensive creative process, our cast members learned to tell their stories in a new, more complete way.  The stories evoke emotion and empathy, allowing the audience to tap into a sense of abundance each experienced.  And, with courageous vulnerability, the cast members’ tell stories that audience members will recognize from their own lives.

To enhance the experience, the stories are interpreted in dance, original sound scape and through a lighting sculpture on stage.  Each art form tells the same story, echoing and enhancing the words of each storyteller to create a unique immersion for the audience.  

The fusion of these fine arts with the most fundamental tribal communication of storytelling creates a unique opportunity for our cast of extreme altruists to connect with anyone listening.  And, in this connection, they pass on their understanding of abundance.

CrowdSource for Life at The Majestic Theater

The Majestic Theater hosted CrowdSource for Life on September 23, 2023, creating a visually stunning setting for the stage content for the feature documentary film, Abundant. The 100-year-old venue is the last remaining theatre of Dallas’s historic Theater Row on Elm Street and is designated as a Dallas Landmark (1997), National Register of Historic Places (1977), Registered Texas Historic Landmark (1983), and State Historic Marker (1983).

Maitri River Productions producer/director Donald Griswold said, “There was no other option than The Majestic Theater to stage CrowdSource for Life. We needed an important and visually spectacular venue for this part of our film, and it means a lot to me to stage the production here in Dallas. That means one thing: The Majestic Theater. It was the only option for a show this unique and important.”

Making CrowdSource for Life

Our production takes a “storytelling show” to a new level of theatrical production to create visually interesting, cinematic content.  CrowdSource for Life breaks the mold of the black box theater setting and throws away the trope of seated storyteller and microphone stand.  In the design of our stage show, our guiding creative standard has been: “We are making a movie!”  So, as a stage show, CrowdSource for Life has to exceed expectations for entertainment.


Ensemble Cast

A talented ensemble cast of dancers told the stories of CrowdSource for Life  through movement and emotion.  Choreographed by Avery-Jai Andrews, the ensemble cast interacted with the cast of storytellers, interpreted the stories and themes and brought a spectacular visual element to the storytelling.  Athletic, kinesthetic and emotionally captivating, the ensemble cast completed the unique vision of Abundant.


Lighting Design

CrowdSource for Life’s production team is led by noted artist Joshua King, whose work will be seen in the lighting concept for the stage production.  In developing the lighting design, our production team is focusing on the key concept of decision making that is common to our cast.  The exploration of this concept in the theater setting will bring form and function together with high art.


Sound Design

CrowdSource for Life will have a live and continuous feel thanks to an immersive sound design.  Storytelling shows create emotional roller coaster rides for the audience, banking through drama and humor.  Our sound design for CrowdSource for Life enhances the experience for the audience, offering moments of connection, community, guidance, empathy and relief.