At the next SHINE event, on July 20, storytellers will tell their life changing true stories associated with new or unusual places. Stories will travel from the running of the bulls in Pamplona to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, to an epiphany while flipping burgers in Ottowa.

SHINE will have Kirsten Wasson, an award wining SHINE storyteller who will be stepping up to host the show. Wasson, a former New York English professor who had her own dramatic “change of place.” Four years ago, Kirsten quit her job, sold her house, and drove to Los Angeles. Since arriving, she has performed stories at many venues including SHINE, Tales By The Sea, P.E.Z., I Love A Good Story, and Tell It!, as well as reading stories on KCRW’s UNfictional. Kirsten is now a counselor at a private secondary school, has published a book of poetry, and her memoir, Unaccompanied Minor: Growing Up in Flight, is forthcoming.

Keeping with the “Change of Place” theme, live music will be provided by Christine Gordon, who unexpectedly became the “Rock Star of St. Barth” after travelling to the resort island.

Storytellers for this month’s SHINE are:

Mike Bonifer is a writer, director, educator and creative executive. When he was eight years old, he realized that his father, a farmer who dreamed of being a movie cowboy, was both a fool and a hero. This tormented him horribly until he realized that putting it into a story would make sense of it all. Today, he is co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at bigSTORY, which applies storytelling to business communication and innovation. He is the co-author of the new book, CTRL Shift: 50 Games for 50 ****ing Days Like Today.

Lucia Ferraro is a certified Life Coach and Fitness Instructor, as well as a highly successful motivational speaker. Her extensive work and experience in Health and Weight Management have helped many attain physical success through detailed attention to the physiological and psychological aspects of transformation. As a Life Coach, Lucia helps her clients design and define a life that’s in harmony with their Soul’s purpose. She specializes in helping people who feel stuck and dissatisfied with their lives so they can quickly get unstuck, build their dreams and enjoy a richer, more fulfilling life experience.

Steve Henrichs is a former software developer who is currently embarking on a second career as a producer of music for film, TV and animation. His recent production music credits include Motel Acqua, a low-budget action film produced out of Mexico. This is Steve’s first adventure in the world of storytelling.

Sarah Kelly is an actor, producer, writer and director. The world premiere of her play War Stories received rave reviews at the 2016 Hollywood Fringe Festival and, after a successful run in Los Angeles’s NoHo Arts District, is being planned for a New York production. Sarah is a volunteer with WriteGirl, a mentoring organization that empowers teen girls. She writes about love and loss and how a creative life can help heal heartache on her popular blog Extra Dry Martini. Her one-act play, Closing Time at Graceland, will receive its world premiere in Los Angeles next month.

Tanya Ward Goodman is a writer, living in Los Angeles. Her essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Perceptions Magazine, Coast Magazine, OC Family, Orange County Register, Alligator Juniper Literary Journal, The Huffington Post, Literary Mama and Brain,Child. Her award-winning memoir, “Leaving Tinkertown,” published by the University of New Mexico, chronicles her childhood in a roadside attraction built by her father, Ross Ward and his descent into Alzheimer’s. Goodman is a partner in Girl Group Enterprises, an education and empowerment group serving girls ages 8-16. She is currently working on a travel memoir.

Len Wechsler was born in New York City, where he was an all-city basketball player. He graduated college with a BA in psychology, and later received an MA in Education. He played professional basketball in France, Italy, and Spain, and traveled around the Mediterranean on a Vespa. He had the good fortune to study theater with the remarkable Stella Alder. He has returned to Europe and North Africa as a teacher, documentary filmmaker, amateur mountain climber, feature film writer, and theater director. He is fluent in several languages. He now resides in Los Angeles.

The popular and long-running Westside show, SHINE is now held monthly at the Santa Monica Playhouse, 1211 4th Street, Santa Monica 90401. Convenient parking is located directly across the street, in City Parking Structure #1.

Tickets are $12, with student/senior discount also available. Tickets may be purchased in advance at Cash and checks only at the door.

By public transportation:

Take the Santa Monica Blue Bus or the LA Metro Rapid #720 and exit at 4th and Wilshire or Metro Rapid #720 and exit at Wilshire and 4th or ride the new Expo line to Colorado and 4th. The Playhouse is four blocks north of the station.

For more information, visit Those interested in becoming a storyteller are encouraged to visit the website in advance for monthly themes and submission guidelines.

–           Submitted by Isabel Storey, SHINE Producer