at the YWCA Santa Monica/Westside

2019 14th Street, Santa Monica CA 90405

Listen to inspiring true stories from professional and amateur storytellers.  

Volunteer to share your own.

Doors Open at 7:30 for Guest Storyteller sign up, music and mingling.  Stories start at 8.

$10 Suggested Donation

This monthly night of stories features 10 storytellers and live musicians who make stories into music.  Most storytellers are *invited and pre-booked, but there will be two open slots at each event for audience members to put their names into a hat for selection at the door to be Guest Storytellers.

“The cast of storytellers certainly conveyed a variety of lessons throughout the over two-hour evening to an appreciative audience.” Nadine Wright, Life in LA

“It feels like professional storytellers are reading you Chicken Soup for the Soul–-something you may not know you want until it happens...Like having your parents read you a story before bed, SHINE! can have a comforting and settling effect on an otherwise hectic evening in Los Angeles.” Jenna Pittaway, Life in LA

SHINE is Featured in Culture Watch: Stories We Tell

by Sarah Spitz, Santa Monica Daily Press

Invite friends or RSVP on Facebook

Story Guidelines:

  1. 1. If you'd like to be an *invited storyteller for SHINE, you must submit a story and bio three weeks in advance of your desired date to the event host Isabel Storey at If you miss the deadline, you can put your name into the hat for one of the two volunteer spots at the event.

  1. 2.Use the theme (see below) to shape a story about a revelation or a-ha moment that your experience led you...the moment you put down the baggage and felt the freedom of insight.  We are interested in the positive life changes that arrive from story crafting, telling and listening.  Please note this is about STORIES- this is not a platform to vent, complain, or test a motivational speech- this is where you share the story of a moment that opened you to growth, self-discovery, a new opportunity. 

  1. 3.The most successful storytellers for this event have been honest, authentic and surprising with a clear beginning, middle and ending “aha”.

  1. 4.Each story must be true to the teller as first person or witness, and under 7 minutes long.  We will ring a warning bell at 6 minutes, cut off at 7.

  1. 5.Teller's choice- Stories can be read off a page, or told without any notes at all.  


SHINE upcoming event dates & themes-


August 21: Money

We rarely talk about it.  Yet many of life's biggest choices and challenges revolve around it.  Life-defining stories about Money.


September 18: Secrets

You may have guarded it yourself – or it may have been kept from you.  Tell us about an important secret that changed you.


October 16:  Finding Bravery

When life knocked you down, where did you find strength to go on?  When fear gripped you, how did you find courage?  Stories of unexpected resilience and bravery.

August Performers: Coming Soon

July Performers:

Live Music

Amanda McAllister is a singer/songwriter who began her musical journey as an opera singer.  After becoming an accomplished, prize-winning operatic soprano, Amanda felt drawn to expand her creative boundaries and began writing original music. Combining her love for compelling lyricism, catchy melodies, jazz, soul, and classical music, she recorded her debut album, Metamorphosis. The album is an exciting introduction to her bold, new sound that genre-smashes her influences with the newest technology and sounds.  For more information:


 Claire Bergen is an educator, artist, writer and musician. After ten years as a music teacher to students ages 3 to adult, Claire spent the past year on sabbatical, writing, tutoring, nannying and co-developing a workshop on sensory awareness for children. Claire, a third-generation klezmer musician, was violinist and bandleader of The Shpil from 2008-2013. Since 2010, Claire has also taught children ages 4 to 8, co-led the klezmer band, and helped develop curriculum at the secular, culturally Jewish Sholem Community.


Anna Metcalf is a writer, storyteller and performer. Her self-published debut, LA Woman Lives In The Fast Lane, is a short collection of humorous, heartwarming true stories blended with a gritty, salacious edge. She relishes collecting strange people as friends and living uncommon moments. Venice, California is home, but she once spent a summer on a Kentucky tobacco farm, house sat for a shaman in Peru and has lived in numerous hotels with her cat. She's currently working on a memoir about her strained and often hilariously absurd relationship with her intellectually disabled mother. Visit her at


Steve Mize is an actor/comedian whose first solo show Life, Audited won Best Comedian Off-Broadway at the United Solo Festival, NYC and the Silverman Award at Hollywood Fringe in 2013. He is an All-Star Storyteller with The Moth. Television appearances include Bones, Ironside, Lie To Me, series finale of ER. In New York, he’s appeared at New York Theatre Workshop, EST, and Primary Stages.  He is a lifetime member of The Actor’s Studio. Steve earned an M.F.A. in Acting at the New School University. Life, Audited will be at the San Francisco Fringe this September, and back in Los Angeles in the Fall.

Andrea Schell is a writer, producer and performer. She played the role of Clair in Santa Monica Repertory Theater’s production of Proof and performed in the company’s staged reading summer series.   She recently performed her solo show From Seven Layers to a Bikini Top in Less Than Five Hours as part of Santa Monica Rep's Solo Series in April.  She is also in development for her next solo show.  Andrea is Associate Producer for the indie film Tiger Orange, created, produced and hosted the web show What Would Men Say? (now on and can be seen telling stories at SHINE  and around LA.  For more information, visit

Bernard Sklar has been writing stories since he was ten years old.  His first job was a reader at the Scott-Meredith Literary Agency in New York City.  But his checkered career followed a very different path, a Ph.D. in engineering from UCLA, where he still teaches.  Since 1984, his consulting company, Communications Engineering Services, has kept him moving around the world.  Now that he is mostly retired, he has time for being a student at Santa Monica Emeritus College, and for doing volunteer work at the WISE and Healthy Aging Center.  Best of all, he can now pursue his original passion, writing stories.

David Ivan Temianka is a writer, storyteller and photographer. He is currently finishing his first book, "Growing Up with LSD" which is a compilation of personal stories and essays. They are also being recorded as podcasts.  David is also an accomplished photographer and multimedia artist.  Recognized for his unique "Electric Paintings,” these limited edition artworks are in a number of collections and have been exhibited in several galleries. David brings an undaunted curiosity to all his endeavors, both literary and artistic. The underlying concept in all his work is the same: "Tell the Truth". To see David's photography, visit:

Brenda Varda is an award-winning playwright, multidisciplinary artist, and teacher with numerous works produced in Los Angeles both as playwright and composer/lyricist. Along with being a writer and performer both in theatre and cabaret, she also creates collective works with other artists through Wordspace, a creative writer's organization.  Her plays include Impossible MoviesFables du Theatre, and Liquid, and she is currently working on multimedia and film scripts.  


Len Wechsler was born in New York City, where he became an all-city basketball player.  He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BA in psychology, and later received an MA in Education from NYU.  He studied acting with Stella Adler.  He played professional basketball in France and Italy, and traveled around the Mediterranean on a Vespa.  He has been back to Europe and North Africa many times as an amateur mountain climber, teacher, documentary filmmaker, feature film writer, and theater director.  He is fluent in several languages.  He now lives in Los Angeles. 


This event is a co-produced by Jen Bloom and Isabel Storey, and presented by Santa Monica Rep, Storey Productions, UCLArts & Healing and the Westside YWCA

Jen Bloom is an Associate Producer of SHINE.  She is a Co-Founder of Santa Monica Rep, and teaches at the AMDA College and Conservatory for Performing Arts.

Isabel Storey is the producer of SHINE.  She is also a theater producer and President of Storey Productions, a production company specializing in live theater.

Laura Cox is an Associate Producer of SHINE.


August 21:  Money

Live Music:  Brenda Varda

Jim Mueller

Cindy Marie Jenkins

Stacie Chaiken

Joe Hernandez-Kolski

Past Storytellers include:

Amanda McAllister

Claire Bergen

Anna Metcalf

Steve Mize

Andrea Schell

Bernard Sklar

David Ivan Temianka

Brenda Varda

Len Wechsler