The Annual First Person Arts Festival is a vital part of Philadelphia’s cultural landscape.

It is the only festival of-its-kind in the world dedicated to presenting art based on real life stories by well-known and emerging artists working across disciplines. Festival programming connects audiences of all backgrounds around the commonality and wonderful nuances within the human experience. We have presented authors, poets, activists, actors, comedians/satirists, stand-up storytellers, theatre artists, monologists, musicians, and podcasters to Philadelphia audiences for 18 years.

 

Women on the Revolution

#ImNoJaneDoe

A celebration of the power of a woman's voice

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Megan Twohey, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times Reporter and co-author of She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement; Jim DeRogatis, author of Soulless - The Case Against R. Kelly, Larissa Marten activist,...

SlamSeries

The First Time

Must be 21 years or older to attend

Monday, November 4, 2019

First Person Arts and the Erotic Literary Salon have joined forces to produce the Erotic Slam – First Time. Curated presenters will read their edgy pieces that have the capacity to transform, banish sexual shame and...

Immortal Series

Socrates Now

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

SOCRATES NOW is a 90-minute solo performance-discourse, which captures the essence of Socratic ethics in an accessible and engaging manner and has been performed to great acclaim at the United Nations, the Athens Agora, the NBC Today Show, and in...

Becoming Philadelphia Series

Jericho Brown

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Who is this nation? Where does freedom truly lie? Jericho Brown will read from his new collection The Tradition that speaks to core concerns of everyone who is from somewhere else, becoming Philadelphia. His poems of fatherhood, legacy,...

SlamSeries

StorySlam

Must be 21 years or older to attend

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

We can’t get enough of your stories and we decided to add one more StorySlam this year. And we want you to decide on the theme! You have three categories to choose from: Romance, Comedy of Errors, and Sexy. Give a suggestion for each. Go...

Becoming Philadelphia Series

Ladan Osman

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Are feelings of displacement and alienation echoes of the longing Adam and Eve felt upon their exile from Eden? Osman’s work is a lyric and exegetic response to problems of race, gender, displacement, and colonialism. She is also the author...

Workshops

SlamCamp with Nimisha Ladva

Saturday, November 9, 2019

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! Have you ever thought about putting your name in the First Person Arts Slam bucket but stopped yourself? This class is to unstop you! SlamCamp for Beginners is designed for beginners but is open to all storytellers who...

Workshops

Holiday Gift Making

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Turn your own story into a holiday gift! Join Linda Dubin Garfield, printmaker/mixed media artist, for a Mixed Media Memoir Workshop at Da Vinci Art Alliance. Materials provided but we encourage you to bring significant personal mementos,...

Becoming Philadelphia Series

Taylor Mali

Sunday, November 10, 2019

We invite you to participate in this series of FREE poetry readings & our signature First Person Arts StoryShare Circles in the communities where you live. We want to hear your stories of becoming a Philadelphian Taylor Mali is...

Women on the Revolution

I Killed the Cow

Sunday, November 10, 2019

I Killed the Cow is a one-woman show by Larissa Marten, that uses metaphor to talk about sexual assault. It inspires discourse and reflection, furthering understanding in the realm of sexual assault by combating misinformation and stigma. Rush...

Immortal Series

Banished

Monday, November 11, 2019

This performance asks the uncomfortable questions. It shines a light on the darkened halls of the child sex offender registry. It challenges perceptions and informs the public.   The performance will be followed by a facilitated...

Becoming Philadelphia Series

Geffery Davis

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

We invite you to participate in this series of FREE poetry readings & our signature First Person Arts StoryShare Circles in the communities where you live. We want to hear your stories of becoming a Philadelphian. Night Angler...

Women on the Revolution

Out of the Shadows

This event is supported by New Century Trust

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Women’s reproductive rights are under attack in states all across the country. Join us for this multigenerational event at the Friends Center where brave women will share stories from the frontlines of the fight for abortion...

Immortal Series

Life, Death, Life Again

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Life, Death, Life Again: Children Sentenced to Die in Prison shares the stories of people sentenced to die in prison for violent crimes committed as children, and a victim’s grandson who chose to lead with forgiveness. Rush Tickets are...

Beyond Expectations

Engaging Males of Color

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Coming Home after incarceration is a new beginning, challenging, and even at times hilarious. Join us for an evening featuring a group of incredible males of color sharing true, personal stories about their experiences as returning...

Becoming Philadelphia Series

Tina Chang

Saturday, November 16, 2019

The poems in Tina Chang’s new collection are an examination of mixed race through the lens of motherhood, and an open interpretation of violence selfhood and history. Tina Chang was raised in New York City. She is the first female to be...

Workshops

Che Guerrera Comedy SlamCamp

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Che Guerrero’s stand-up workshops are designed for complete beginners or those with relatively little experience writing and telling their own jokes in front of a crowd. It’s a great safe space to start because it will help you get...

SlamSeries

GrandSlam

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Chris Lundy, one of your favorite hosts, returns for our 18th birthday!  This season’s StorySlam winners go head-to-head for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia,” free First Person Arts Slam admission for...

Our performers have included Grammy, Tony, and Pulitzer Prize winners, nationally, internationally and unknown artists - all using the power of their personal experiences to transform the spaces around them.

We're proud to have presented...

  •  Toni Morrision
  •  Philadelphia Poet Laureates Sonia Sanchez & Yolanda Wisher
  •  Angela Davis
  •  Kathryn Erbe
  •  Zach Grenier
  •  Keith David
  •  Felonious Munk
  •  Dave Hill
  •  Maria Bamford
  •  Margaret Cho
  •  Janeane Garofalo
  •  Hari Kondabolu
  •  Dael Orlandersmith
  •  Ursula Rucker
  •  Theatre of War
  •  Ntozake Shange (in partnership with the African American Museum in Philadelphia)
  •  Martha Graham Cracker
  •  Aunt Mary Pat
  •  Mike Daisey
  •  Nadya Tolokonikkova (Pussy Riot)
  •  Berneice Johnson Reagon (Founder, Sweet Honey in the Rock)
  •  Fatin Danzler (Kindred The Family Soul)
  •  Philip Bailey (Earth Wind & Fire)
  •  Bilal
  •  FREEWAY
  •  DJ Rick Medina
  •  Black Thought (The Roots)
  •  Welcome to Night Vale
  •  RISK!
  •  Hungry
  •  Ira Glass (in partnership with the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts)
  •  Story League
  •  Stripped Stories
  •  Ana Castillo
  •  Jennifer Teege
  •  Dani Shapiro
  •  Ruby Wax
  •  Chef Marcus Samuelsson
  •  Eric Asimov (NY Times Wine Critic)

Past Festival Sponsors

Sponsor the 2019 First Person Arts Festival

Connect with our young, educated, and highly engaged audience!

Listen to Stories

You can find recordings of selected Festival events online throughout the year on our website, podcast and partner sites like WHYY acommonspace.org radio hour and podcast series, or NewsWorks.

Find a Story

 

 

Tell Your Story

With this full roster of regional, national and international artists, we still make room for people who don’t consider themselves artists on our Slam stages!

Learn More About StorySlams