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.



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...


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,...


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...

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