In the 1980’s, Tanya was trained as a professional actor at Carnegie- Mellon University, Emerson College and HB Acting Studios with Sandy Dennis and Bill Hickey. Although Tanya loved theater, her very specific life’s work and purpose presented itself to her when she attended a one- man show by the late great Spalding Gray.
Without the artifice of traditional theater, Spalding’s show was a revelation. It was simply one human being willing to share intimate, dark and funny stories from his life with an audience craving the authenticity and transparency his show provided. At the age of twenty, Tanya devoted her life to learning the crafts of writing, performing, facilitating, coaching and directing one-person shows. Her own solo shows have been critically acclaimed and wildly popular with audiences. She has coached and directed over one hundred one-person shows which have been performed in theater and comedy festivals, at theaters and conferences nationally and internationally.
Her work took a new turn when she created a transformational storytelling process (StoryHealers) to support people who had undergone life-challenging illness to write and perform their stories.
The culmination of this work was “The Cancer Monologue Project” which was a series of performances with people who had experienced cancer that was performed in cities across the U.S. Mac Adam–Cage published a book of the stories Tanya had facilitated and the work became a phenomenon. The work was featured in Oprah’s Magazine where it was called “a gift and a necessity,” was featured on NPR, Spirituality and Health and the CBS Early Show. It was endorsed by Marianne Williamson, Rachel Naomi Reman, Bernie Siegel and by Spalding Gray before his passing.
It was at this time that Tanya really began to understand the limitless potential between stories, story telling and the deep soul work she had embarked upon when she moved to Santa Fe in 1991. Tanya began to create projects that involved exploring the intersections between story, spiritual and emotional healing, social justice and visionary practices to support both the awakening of the individual and community.
During this time, Tanya began to create monologue projects such as “Core Witness” with Veterans for Peace and monologues with Palestinians and Israelis to support a deep listening and story practice with groups of people experiencing profound separation. Through the last fifteen years, Tanya has used this transformational story work with homeless and mentally ill populations as well as the GLBT community, hospice caregivers and recovering addicts.
Tanya has trained yearly groups of professional StoryHealer’s Professional Facilitators, many of whom are utilizing the transformational story practice in their communities in the U.S. and Canada.
Tanya has edited two books, “The Cancer Monologue Project” and “Writing on Times Edge.” She has spent the last seven years developing her offerings to include individual writing coaching, particularly geared for global visionaries, entrepreneurs and people making sense of their personal stories as a way to serve larger visions.
Her clients have been published by Harper San Francisco, HCI Books, New World Library, Chelsea Green and New Leaf Press among others.
In 2013 , Tanya taught at the Black Mesa Writing Retreat with Natalie Goldberg, Julia Cameron, Theo Pauline Nestor and Candace Walsh. In 2014, she taught with Anne Lamott at the Bird by Bird and Beyond Conference in Marin County.
She has collaborated to lead story and soul based workshops for organizations including: Bioneers, Many Mothers, Mothering Magazine, Veterans for Peace, Creativity for Peace, Gilda’s Club, Dana Farber Cancer Center,Santa Fe Secondary School, United World College, Santa Fe College of Art and Design, National Alliance for Mental Illness, Kitchen Angels, Adalante, City of Santa Fe, Center for Contemporary Arts.
Her work with organizations has primarily been in meeting with world changers and thought leaders who are seeking a clear and provocative way to express and embody their purpose.
With an acting background,
Tanya is able to support all of her clients in not only writing or speaking their messages, but a portion of the shows Tanya has coached, directed and produced have been performed at the following venues:
- 2nd Stage Theater, Off-Broadway
- The Lensic Theater, Santa Fe
- Writer’s Guild Theater Los Angeles
- Toronto Fringe Festival
- New York Fringe Festival
- Capital Fringe Festival (The show Tanya directed won best solo show in festival)
- Greer Garson Theater, Santa Fe
- Theater Work, Santa Fe
- San Diego Rep Theater
- James A. Little Theater Santa Fe
- National Alliance for Mental Illness National Conference (Washington DC)
- Stage Left Theater N.Y.C.
- Portland Fringe Festival
- All for One Festival Theater Row, NYC
- Edmonton Fringe Festival ,Canada
- Edinborough Fringe Festival (Scotland)
- Armory for the Arts Theater, Santa Fe
- Teatro Paraguas, Santa Fe
- National Hispanic Cultural Center, Albuquerque
- Crossroads, Los Angeles
- Nuryorcan Poet’s Café, NYC
- The Lodge, Santa Fe
- New Mexico Behavioral Health Conference
- New Mexico Social Workers Conference
- Arizona Behavioral Health Conference
- Vancouver Fringe Festival , Canada
- SoloFest (NYC)
Her organizational clients and partners (corporate and non-profit) have included:
- St. Vincents Hospital
- Dana Farber Cancer Center, Boston
- Amercare (San Diego/Dallas/Los Angeles/Orange County Offices)
- Many Mothers
- Mothering Magazine
- Gilda’s Club (Chicago/NYC locations)
- Veteran’s for Peace
- Cabrini Hospital (NYC)
- Santa Fe College of Art and Design
- Santa Fe Secondary School
- United World College (Las Vegas Campus)
- Wellness Community (Orange County location)
- Kitchen Angels