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.


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
  •  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 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