Podcast: High Stakes All Episodes

About the High Stakes Podcast
Every Monday, professional storyteller Sage Tyrtle brings you true stories that matter, the moments from her city she wants to share with you, and stories from her own strange life. In the coming months, you’ll hear true stories from people like Manmeet Dhoa – a strip of red cloth is all it takes to put her father’s life in danger. Bridget Cann’s act of kindness ends in a state-mandated psychiatrist appointment. And one thousand people were meant to show up. Marsha Shandur was the only one who did.

Submit your true story or just get in touch.

Twice a month, I send out a brief email including storytelling tips, advance notice of my upcoming performances, and workshop opportunities. If you’d like to be included on this list (and only this list: two emails, twice a month) please sign up by clicking here.

For more, connect via Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about my 7 week storytelling workshops.

Come see my live storytelling show, High Stakes Storytelling, in downtown Toronto. Learn more.

All Episodes


A Certain Kind of Love
Tracey Erin Smith (Soulo Festival) tells us a true story about the moments no one is listening. Then Anto Chan explains how to get over the love of your life.


She has 365 Days to Change Her Life
Rachel tells us a true story. Suddenly, everything was so different she didn’t even know how to CROSS THE STREET.


The Islands
Mondays, High Stakes features true stories. But today, a real exchange that I found online. Bear with me – it starts with a hideous right wing question. But is very quickly transformed.


Quirky Quiz 1.3: “Timmons will have a glass of boiled water and he will LIKE IT.”
Every Monday, High Stakes features true stories. But today, join Shelly in Texas, Jancis in England, Will in Wales and me, Sage Tyrtle, in Toronto. Why do people gasp when they see Jancis naked on stage? Where does Sage’s Victorian orphan live? And why was Will standing outside in the dead of winter holding three cats? The answers to these questions and more in today’s Quirky Quiz.


In the Homeless Shelter, I Wore My Shoes To Bed
Today, Jesse Thistle tells us a true story. He wore his shoes to bed every single night. Find out why. Jesse is a Governor General medalist, a Vanier and Trudeau scholar and is currently pursuing his PhD in history at York University.

Then, poet Maya Stein‘s “When They Call You Names”. Maya is a freelance writer and editor and her poems reach more than 1,500 people each week.


She has to help, but HOW?
Today, Beth tells us a true story. She knows she has to help, but has no idea how to begin. Then, Erin Rodgers (Storystar) asks the universe a question – and the universe sends an unlikely messenger with the answer.


The Autowaala Who Loved Lionel Richie
Sonata Parashar tells the true story of the autowaala who loved Lionel Richie. This story is part of the Storytellers series, produced by Kommune India.


He Stood Alone
Today, the true story of a little girl caught in the middle of political unrest.


Quirky Quiz 1.2: “What do you think starfish do, have LIVE BIRTH?”
Every Monday, High Stakes features true stories. But today, join Kymm Zuckert in Los Angeles, Kate Southey and Thomas Jancis in England, and Sage Tyrtle in Toronto for games like Just a Minute, Rock Paper Anything, and a LOT of laughing. What do yarn and cocaine have in common? Who almost drowned horribly but was saved? How do you escape a man with a guitar under his sweater? The answers to these questions and many more on today’s Quirky Quiz.


Adventures of Captain Canuck
Tim Herman tells us a true story. He just wanted to have a good time – instead, he landed smack dab in the middle of The Adventures of Captain Canuck.


Fighting Fascism
David Rosenberg (East End Walks) tells us a true story. When the fascist parade started down the street, the people would do ANYTHING to stop it.


Take-a My Heart
Today, Dan Yashinsky (director of the Toronto Storytelling Festival) tells us a true story. It was a strange – but somehow fitting – joke to hear on the palliative care unit.


He Said No Even Though He Could See The Gun
Today, Priyam Brahmbhatt tells us her grandfather’s story – he said no, even though he could see the gun.


Motel Room, 2 PM, Again
Lara Marjerrison tells us a true story. She caught her own eyes in the mirror, and suddenly everything changed.


Quirky Quiz 1.1: “Robots DO need a special diet, or they can’t pee!”
Every Monday, High Stakes features true stories. But today, join Sasha in Australia, Will in Wales, Shelly in Texas and Sage in Toronto for games like Story Rugby, Just a Minute – and a LOT of laughter. Which bird has an Australian accent? How can you buy a ticket to Analog Land? What’s the target audience for Cuttlefish Ice Cream? The answers to these questions and more in today’s Quirky Quiz.

The Red Ink Dripped Evil
Natalie Zed tells us a true story. Her calligraphy set should have been labeled “Fast Lane to Eeeeeeeeevil”.

Striking a Match
First, Sage Tyrtle brings you a moment from her city as the storm strikes. Then, Nishtha (Nishtha’s Blog) tells a true story – trying to impress her baby sister was a TERRIBLE idea.

What the Future Has to Tell Us
Usually we hear true stories. Today, a story we MIGHT be hearing – far, far into the future.

The Very Last Place She Wanted To Be
We begin with a moment from my city that I want to share with you, and then Martha Chomyn tells us a true story – it was the very last place in the world that she wanted to be.

If He Can Just Fool the Cops Long Enough
Today, Brian Finch (Dare Storytelling Show) tells us a true story. His entire life is about to change – if he can just fool the cops for long enough.

Two Diaries: One True, One For Her Mother
Today, Bridget Cann tells us a true story. Her school principal was NOT prepared for that question at all. Then comedian Martha Chaves tells us a true story. Growing up in Nicaragua, she kept two diaries – one true, and one for her mother to read.

Dressing in Rags to Escape
Today, Fatima Farooqi tells us her mother’s true story. They dressed in rags to cross the border.

Exploring Strange Lands
Today, I tell a true story. I am not religious in any way. So when my friend Tatiana asks if I want to visit a Megachurch, the kind that’s the size of a shopping mall, I immediately say yes because I am fascinated. I will be an explorer to strange lands, and Tatiana – who grew up going to these churches but like me is not religious – will serve as my translator. Come with me.

Not Who He Pretended to Be
Today, Hayley Kellett of the Making Box tells a true story. She’d been with him for a long time before she realized that everything she thought she knew – his name, where he was from, who his parents were – was imaginary.

Listening for the Last Breath
Today, Marsha Shandur of Yes Yes Marsha and True Stories Toronto tells a true story. Sometimes, saying goodbye can be a celebration.

The Lipstick
“You try, Missus. It cost nothing to try,” the woman said, offering the lipstick, but she was wrong – because by painting her lips Anna’s mother changed the direction of her life. listen

Becoming a Father 8 Weeks Early
Will McGree spent eight hours a day for months staring at a plastic box, until something magical happened.

Times Were Different Then
Climb the Hebron Hills with Sarah Abusarar, find out how in 1948 two little boys changed their school forever.

Rescued Factory Farm Chicken
Kite tells the true story of living with a rescued factory farm chicken. Then, we get to hear the story from her partner’s point of view.

Bunny Dressed in Army Gear
Rob Lewin tells us a true story – he was filled with optimism and rainbows. Until the bus doors opened.

Sam’s Mother Has Called the Police
Bridget Cann tells us a true story. Her act of kindness ends in a state-mandated psychiatrist appointment.

Ten Things I’ve Learned From Living As A Short Man With Scoliosis
Ken Hall talks about ten things he’s learned from living as a short man with scoliosis.

It Didn’t End the Way She Expected It To
Erin Kang of Stories of Ours tells a true story. It was her first time babysitting. It didn’t end the way she expected it to.

Frank and Olive
Hugh Cotton tells a true story about his grandfather. She gave him a ring. Neither of them had any idea how far that ring would travel.

Zombie Goldfish
Nikki Atkins tells the true story of seeing her mother perform a miracle – literally.

Duck and Cover
My mom, Kite, was born in 1946. She was one of many kids who knew “Duck and Cover” had to be absolute nonsense.

Playing the Long Game
Kate Southey tells the story of a woman who discovered that moving to Africa to save her marriage was the biggest mistake of her life.


Encounter With a Jealous Goose
Among other stories, Nikki Atkins tells a true story of the goose who was jealous of her mother.

In Love With a Haunted Puppet
Rob Hills tells a true story about the difficulties of falling in love – with a puppet.

Split Level Love Part 2
The second half of Kate Southey’s true story of sexy suburban intrigue.

Split Level Love Part 1
Kate Southey tells us part one of a true story about the seamy underbelly of English suburbia. Guys, it is NOTHING like Upstairs, Downstairs.

1970s Online Love
Find out what online dating looked like in the 70s, from a 102 year old man.

My Sister’s Golden Hair
When girls were barred from school, her father cut her hair like a boy’s. From the Afghan Women’s Writing Project.

What’s your name?
A true story from Jess Beaulieu. Her choice of a fake name gives her secret powers.