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-


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.

November 20: A Time to Forgive

They say there is a time to love and a time to hate.  Is there also a time to forgive? Tell us about your decision to forgive...or not.

September Performers:

Guest Host

Isabel Storey, the producer and co-founder of SHINE, is a veteran theater and television producer.  She has produced world premiere plays at theaters throughout Los Angeles and has produced and written for television, including CBS, ABC, Lifetime and KCET.  Her company, Storey Productions, specializes in developing and producing meaningful new works for the stage, television and new media.


Live Music

Sunny Hilden is an inspiring singer, keyboardist and Grammy-winning songwriter.  She has been featured in more than 1,000 performances around the world ranging from singing jazz on the French Riviera to fronting a 110-piece band for 40,000 people here in California.  Sunny's songs have been recorded by Ray Charles, Sting, Patti LaBelle, The Temptations, Herbie Hancock and many others.  She is a strong advocate for inspiring with positive messages through art.


Deana Barone is a storyteller, actress, writer, and director who loves chocolate, clowns, and skipjack tuna. She also runs The Tell-Tale Company, acts, rewrites emails for a Russian CEO, tells stories all around LA, tutors kids and teens, directs, goes to a crazy hippie dance class, dramaturges, meditates, guest artists at UCSB, does energy work, and leads story workshops for actors and business types. All of these endeavors may involve puppets. She created, curates and co-hosts The Trunk Show (The Elephant Theatre's monthly multi-genre storytelling show), is a Moth StorySlam winner, and a produced playwright. 

Barra Grant’s screenplays include: Slow Dancing in the Big City and Misunderstood, starring Gene Hackman.  She wrote and directed the films Life of the Party and Love Hurts. She received a Writer’s Guild Award and was nominated for a DGA award.  She’s spent years as a script doctor, rewriting several major motion pictures at various studios.  Barra’s play A Mother, A Daughter, and a Gun was produced in Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, starring Olympia Dukakis. Barra has told stories at Spark off Rose, Tasty Words, and Tales by the Sea.

Lisa Marguerite Mora is a prize-winning poet, published writer, and professional editor.  She has had work published and forthcoming in the
literary journals Rattle, ONTHEBUS, Common Ties, Literary Mama,
California Quarterly, The Venice Beachhead, Poemimage, Public Poetry
Series, Cultural Weekly, Rebelle Society among others and was Second
Place Prize Winner in the 2008 Biannual Blue Mountain Arts Poetry
Contest. A member of PEN, she is a freelance editor and conducts
creative writing workshops in the Los Angeles area. Lisa holds a
Bachelors Degree from UCLA in English Literature/Creative Writing
Emphasis. She has just completed a first novel.

Frank Mundo is a full-time writer in Los Angeles. He has a BA in English from UCLA, where he also completed the Creative Writing Program. His stories, poetry, and essays have appeared in dozens of journals, magazines and anthologies in print and online. Frank is the author of the award-winning novel in verse, The Brubury Tales (foreword by Carolyn See), and Gary, the Four-Eyed Fairy and Other Stories, a collection of his very best short stories published over the last 15 years. Frank's latest book, Different, is an illustrated novella for adults that reimagines Kafka's Metamorphosis and Alice in Wonderland.

Sy Rosen started off as a social worker and somehow became a TV comedy writer.  He has written episodes for The Bob Newhart Show (where he was a shrink), Taxi, MASH, Rhoda, Maude, Northern Exposure, The Wonder Years, Frasier  and dozens of other shows some of which are best left unmentioned.  He has also had several plays produced and has written numerous newspaper and magazine articles about the joys and horrors of getting older.  He enjoys hiking and taking naps (the hiking part is a lie).   

Oscar Sagastume is a stand-up comedian, storyteller, writer, actor, and “protagonist” living in Los Angeles. He says he embodies the Chinese curse of “living an interesting life” and the Guatemalan curse of “never being able to shut up about it.” Whether he is recalling his years as a PA at various radio stations, a pyro tech at Universal Studios, or a special events manager in Las Vegas--Oscar has a story for all occasions. He is generally involved in a variety of projects, including (his most important) raising his three children with his beautiful wife. He says his greatest accomplishment was purchasing a 1978 Skylark with stories of adventure.

Mary Stein is an actress in both TV and Film. Her film credits include Changeling with Angelina Jolie, directed by Clint Eastwood;The Grinch with Jim Carrey, directed by Ron Howard; and Babe: Pig in the City with James Cromwell, directed by George Miller. Her TV credits include Providence, Ex List, Murphy Brown, and Star Trek: Next Generation. Mary trained at The Juilliard School in NYC. She plays the role of Martha, a church spinster in the film Little Boy with Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson set to be released in February 2015. She intermittently teaches acting and Structured Visualization classes. 

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, please visit:


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

Princella Baker is the Videographer/Editor for SHINE and its YouTube video channel.

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.

Laura Cox is an Associate Producer of SHINE and Producer of the Shine Storytelling Podcast on iTunes.

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.


September 18:  Secrets

Live Music:  Sunny Hilden,


Nick Ullett

Past Storytellers include:

Kevin Walsh

Ruthy Otero

Isabel Storey

Sunny Hilden

Deana Barone

Barra Grant

Frank Mundo

Sy Rosen

Mary Stein

David Ivan Temianka 

Oscar Sagastume

Lisa Marguerite Mora