Report: True Stories Told Live by Firelight!

25 Jun


Paul Hutcheson’s story also took place as the sun went down!

True Stories Told Live hosted its first-ever TSTL By Firelight last week in Dufferin Grove — but we very nearly didn’t! On the Tuesday night, Marsha’s dream of a campfire-side TSTL were under threat: big, black, Old Testament clouds were looming over Toronto, and the city had been issued with a tornado warning. Ever the optimist, Marsha told us we’d wait to the last minute before cancelling, and sent round a message which essentially said, “What do you want your memoirs to say?”. Team TSTL weren’t going down that easy!

After a couple of tense hours with excessive window-watching, the torrential rain swept over downtown Toronto and then… it was gone. By 8:30pm, kindling was being assembled at the Dufferin Grove fire pit, and an impressive amount of hardcore True Stories Family members were getting comfy on the tarpaulin.

Storytelling favourite Sage Tyrtle spoke first, telling us about a childhood bus trip to Universal Studios where it was revealed that she and her peers would be facing the iconic Great White Shark, Jaws!
She and the other children on the bus managed to wrestle with their terror, thanks to an excellent mantra provided by her Dad. You can catch up with Sage’s goings-on over on her website (including the details of her latest AMAZING storytelling workshop which TSTL family can get discount on! See our FB group for more details):

Becky Bays then came up and recounted her memorable experience of seeing Titanic for the first time… and her rowdy drunk “boyfriend” who got a bit over-excited about the sinking ship (whom she impersonated excellently). You can find Becky at

Our host Marsha herself then told us a hilarious and heart-warming story about her Russian grandmother’s last few days, and how they were some of the best she’d spent with family. It’s not normal for a story that partly takes place on a family member’s death bed to have people in stitches, but somehow Marsha managed to make that happen! You can find Marsha and her stellar networking tips, over at!

Kate Hodgson wasn’t on the bill, but Marsha pulled her out of the audience to tell us a story that I’m pretty sure we were all secretly envious of — telling us how she took action and eventually managed to work up the courage to speak to the handsome stranger she’d see on her walk through High Park every morning, involving an awkward Christmas card. Story aficionados should check out Kate Hodgson’s new show featuring true stories from the workplace, called 9 to 5 Narrative:

Marilla Wex then took us back to her years with the National Youth Theatre and their trip to Moscow,  including tales of her sort-of “first time” as well as her awkward brush with British royalty which had us all squeaking! Marilla Wex’s site is and you can catch her show in the fringe this year, more info at Marilla Wex in “Lost and Found” at the Toronto Fringe. [Note from Marsha: I’ve seen it, and it’s AMAZING!!]

Marsha then hopped up again to bring us some classic campfire fodder: a ghost story, which, I’ll ashamedly admit, sent me jumping about three feet in the air at the climax!

Sage then got back up, to tell us a local story about her time living just off of Dufferin Grove, and the woman who became a temporary resident of the park itself. Sage had us all captivated and clutching our hearts by the end of her tale.

Then Paul Hutcheson wrapped up the night’s storytelling with a dynamic recount of his trip to Australia, and his terrifying Close Encounters experience in the outback, which had us all perched on the edge of our tarpaulins, and of course, clutching our sides with laughter.  You can find Paul on twitter @WogProductions and Facebook here.

By the end of the stories, the fire was in great form, and we busted out the marshmallows for toasting, just giving the night that extra bit of gooey, campfire authenticity!

Thank you so much to all of you who came — I’m sure you can agree it was a super-special evening (thanks to the Biblical storm beforehand as well!) and I’m sure we will be back in Dufferin Grove soon for another round of True Stories Told Live – By Firelight!

Our next show will be back in our usual spot of The Garrison, on Wednesday July 30th, 8pm. See you then!

Your Story Commander,

Olivia x

As you can see, we also had our youngest ever TSTL attendees – Rosie (9), Briar (6) and Robin (4 months!). Just behind them, was Nelly, our first ever TSTL dog-attendee.

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