First Person Arts Festival Brings Celeb Comedians, Story Slams And More To Philly November 5-18

More than a dozen storytelling events take place throughout Philly during this annual 14-day fest...

Love a good story? The 16th annual First Person Arts Festival is bringing a slew of storytelling events to Philly this month.

Internationally renowned artists and everyday people from both Philadelphia and across the country will take part in more than a dozen events at venues across the city from November 5 to 18.

This year’s lineup features Margaret Cho, Maria Bamford, Hari Kondabolu and other accomplished storytellers.


  • The First Person Arts Festival takes place November 5 to 18.
  • Eight venues across the city will host shows.
  • Events are ticketed. Purchase tickets online here.

First Person Arts Festival Overview

Guided by the belief that everyone has a story to tell and that these stories connect us to one another and the surrounding world, the First Person Arts organization aims to empower the storyteller in each of us. All year long, the nonprofit organization hosts interactive arts programs and performances, including regularly occurring story slams.

The annual First Person Arts Festival, the organization’s flagship festival, showcases First Person Arts’ mission in a grand celebration that unfolds citywide.

First Person Arts Festival
The 16th annual First Person Arts Festival kicks off a 14-day celebration of storytelling this Sunday. (Photo courtesy E. Vonie for First Person Arts Festival)
The festival features 14 nights of shows, which range from story slams to comedy performances to activism presentations and more.

This year’s festival takes places at eight venues around Philadelphia: Christ Church Neighborhood House, FringeArts, Punch Line Philly, National Museum of American Jewish History, First Unitarian Church, The Fillmore Philadelphia, Asian Arts Initiative and Underground Arts.

Event Highlights

The festival spans 14 days and brings a dozen different storytelling-themed shows to check out.

Kicking off the packed roster of events, Grammy- and Emmy-nominated comedian Margaret Cho is set to deliver a “Fresh Off the Bloat” performance on November 5 at The Fillmore Philadelphia. Cho will put a humorous spin on topics ranging from addiction to activism to being Asian.

On November 8, another acclaimed comic takes to the stage, this time at Punch Line PhillyHari Kondabolu will join two other storytellers for an evening of both comedy and honest discussion surrounding race in the United States.

The First Person Arts Festival’s annual Grand Slam goes down on November 11 at FringeArts, bringing the organization’s StorySlam winners together for an on-stage, head-to-head battle in front of a panel of celebrity judges.

First Person Arts Festival
(Photo courtesy First Person Arts)
Shows take place every night of the festival at venues including Punch Line Philly, The Fillmore Philadelphia, Underground Arts and more.

Other events include Engaging Males of Color: Legendary!, a free show at Underground Arts on November 13 that mixes dance, storytelling and fashion for a theatrical night of fun.

For a full list of First Person Arts Events, click here.


Ticket information and purchases are available online. Simply click on the event that you’re interested in attending, and you’ll find a “purchase” button that will direct you to ticketing sales.

Shows often sell out, so it’s highly recommended that you purchase tickets in advance.

Save your seat now to partake in this premier celebration of the spoken word!

First Person Arts Festival

When:November 5-18
Where:Eight locations citywide, including FringeArts, 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard
Cost:Ticket prices vary per event



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