Community Studies alumna brings one-woman show to Santa Cruz

Performance stems from experience on a six-month field study

Taren Sterry
Taren Sterry

UC Santa Cruz alumna Taren Sterry returns to Santa Cruz as Hospice of Santa Cruz County and the UCSC Community Studies department co-sponsor her one-woman show, 180 Days, Thursday, February 16, 7-9 p.m. at the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320-2 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz.

Sterry is a writer, performer, and teacher in New York City. She graduated from UCSC in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Community Studies and holds a master's in Gerontology and Thanatology from the College of New Rochelle.

She wrote and performs 180 Days, a 60-minute comedy drama based on her first six months working in hospice. As part of the community studies field studies requirement at UCSC, Sterry undertook an ethnographic field study to work with terminally ill patients and their families in South Dakota.  “I thought I was going to go help them figure out their lives,” she said. Instead, it became “one of the most transformative experiences in my life.”

Hospice is about life stories, Sterry says. She focuses on five patients and their stories in 180 Days and has performed to sold-out audiences in New York and at conferences and hospice events around the county. Her performance at Kuumbwa will be followed by a meet-the-artist discussion hosted by UCSC lecturer Wendy Martyna who inspired Sterry at UCSC 10 years ago and continues to teach a popular course, "The Sociology of Death and Dying."

“This is just the sort of event our program loves to sponsor,” said Community Studies lecturer Andrea Steiner, “working in partnership with Santa Cruz organizations to get people informed, engaged, and energized about hidden issues that matter to us all.”

Sterry is manager of volunteer services for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York Hospice Care. She is also certified in Training Management at New York University and teaches improv and public speaking. Her passion is entertaining and educating the community about improv and end-of-life issues.
Tickets are $17 advance; $20 at the door; $10 for students and seniors; $30 Hospice supporters. Tickets available in advance at

More information is available from Julie Boudreau at Hospice of Santa Cruz County, (831) 430-3078.