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


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,...

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...

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...

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