The 13th Annual First Person Arts Festival Returns To Philadelphia – November 4 – 15

First Person Arts Festival
First Person Arts Festival (Courtesy of First Person Arts)

As the birthplace of our nation, Philly is a city of “firsts”, and home to tons of one-of-a-kind creative places, people and events. So, it’ll come as no surprise that the only festival in the world dedicated to the art and power of storytelling, The First Person Arts Festival happens right here.  

From November 4-15, First Person Arts’ innovative and entertaining festival explodes with two weeks of fantastic events that celebrate the power of the personal story through stand-up storytelling, theater, story slams, poetry, music, memoir writing, and more. And, this year FPA is definitely taking the festival to an entirely new level.

We’ve pulled together a few of our favorite festival events to get you started, but be sure to check out the full schedule online here.

The 13th Annual First Person Arts Festival 
When: November 4 – 15
Where: Various Venues (see festival website for details)
Cost: Various
More info: Click here to buy tickets online.

First Person Arts Festival Picks

An Evening with Marcus Samuelsson

Tuesday, November 14, 6-7 p.m. | Le Méridien Philadelphia | $120-180
Buy tickets online here.

Star of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and ABC’s The Taste Marcus Samuelsson, one of the world’s top chefs, wants to cook for you. The celebrity chef and New York Times best-selling author prepares a special meal straight from his new cookbook, Marcus Off Duty, featuring relaxed, multicultural dishes that he serves in his own home for his wife and friends. Philadelphia native, Chef Jen Carroll (Top Chef, Top Chef All-Stars) joins as sous chef.

Grand Slam

Thursday, November 7 p.m. | Prince Music Theater | $16-22
Buy tickets online here. 

Philly’s biggest storytelling showdown returns! Winners of FPA’s 13th Season of StorySlams go head to head for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia”, free FPA Slam admission for life, and a $250 cash prize. Contestants try to win over celebrity judges with their most outrageous, gutsy, and heartfelt personal tales on the theme “Thanks A Lot”. Featuring Caroline Charrow, Steve Clark, Jackie Debellis, Dan Geraghty, Dave Hillis, Roman Krivitsky, Nimisha Ladva, Lisa Nelson Haynes, Brittanie Sterner, Anne Thomas, and Marjorie Winther. Hosted by Comedian Dave Hill.

Story League Sings

Saturday, November 8, 7 p.m. | Underground Arts | $17-22
Buy tickets online here. 

Most of us secretly want to be rock stars. That’s the spirit behind Story League Sings, where performers each get to tell an outrageously funny story from their own lives, and then rip karaoke-style into a well-known song that’s also a joke on the story. Who knew these comedic storytellers could actually (kind of) sing? Featuring performers from Washington DC’s Story League and some Philly favorites too, plus a troupe of sassy background singers and dancers.

Stripped Stories 

Saturday, November 8, 10 p.m. | Underground Arts | $17-22
Buy tickets online here.

Named one of the 10 Best Storytelling Shows in LA by Time Out Los Angeles. Storytelling’s sexiest duo, Margot Leitman (Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Comedy Central) and Giulia Rozzi (MTV, VH1,  Chelsea Lately), bares it all on stage in what New York Press calls the “Best Sexual Experience with Your Clothes On”. Witness some of their “juiciest, jaw-dropping tales” (Playgirl Magazine) in this hit variety show featuring sex-themed stories, games and live music by  Johnny Showcase. With comedian Dave Hill.

First Person Arts Podcast LIVE!

Wednesday, November 12, 9 p.m |  Christ Church Neighborhood House | $17-22
Buy tickets online here. 

Award winning radio producer and Executive Producer of the FPA Podcast Yowei Shaw (This American Life, Studio 360, NPR) redefines “live radio” in this interactive, multimedia event. A curated lineup of diverse storytellers share personal tales on the theme “Talk to Me” and Yowei performs a radio documentary on stage accompanied by music, audio mixing, and sound effects. This is radio like you’ve never experienced before. Featuring Rev. David BrownTimothy ColmanDave DaviesRabbi Linda Holtzman, and Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela.


Friday, November 14, 8 p.m. | Christ Church Neighborhood House | $17-22
Click here to buy tickets online. 

Obie Award-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith performs a staged reading of her newest work, an uplifting memoir-driven exploration of the family we are born into and the family we choose. Forever draws from Orlandersmith’s own pilgrimage to the famed Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris – the final resting place of legendary artists such as Marcel Proust, Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison. Inspired at the graveside of these timeless artists, Orlandersmith gives a gripping account of the legacy she inherited from her mother – one of bitterness, abuse, beauty and art.

Philip Bailey: Shining Star The True Story of Earth Wind & Fire

Saturday, Nov. 15, 8 p.m. | Mother Bethel AME Church | $32-40
Buy tickets online here.

Earth Wind & Fire lead singer and eight-time Grammy winner Philip Bailey takes you behind the scenes of one of the most successful and influential groups in music history. Bailey shares from his revealing and heartfelt memoir Shining Star: Braving the Elements of Earth Wind & Fire and WDAS’  Patty Jackson interviews the music legend about the group’s rise to global fame and Bailey’s own professional and spiritual journey. This is the true story of what happens when real life exceeds your dreams.


Leave a comment directly on the blog

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *