First Person Arts Festival
Philadelphia, PA
(267) 402-2055

Dates: Nov. 7 to 17

The First Person Arts Festival is back for its 11th season, with storytelling events right here in Philadelphia for everyone to enjoy. This year, the tales will revolve around topics of identity, family, heritage and legacy. Events will be held at three locations, and you’ll need tickets for each event. This festival is being presented by the University of Pennsylvania’s Masters of Liberal Arts program, under the new leadership of Jamie J. Brunson, with an exciting new line up everyone will enjoy.

Grand Slam
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Hours: Nov. 8 – 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $20

The Grand Slam is expected to house 200 guests as they await First Person Live Arts to announce the the best storyteller in Philadelphia. This event will be hosted by R. Eric Thomas, one of the city’s most talented storytellers himself. This main event promises to have listeners on the edge of their seats, but don’t miss out on the rest of the festival.

An Evening with Marcus Samuelsson
The Racquet Club of Philadelphia
215 S. 16th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19102

Hours: Nov. 7 VIP reception – 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.; reading/dinner – 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Price: $100/$150 VIP

This year, there will be a special appearance by celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, winner of “Top Chef” on Bravo. Samuelsson has made a remarkable journey from a child growing up in Ethiopia to a high-class chef in New York. This is the only appearance that Samuelsson has made in Philadelphia, making this historical as well as intriguing. Along with this storytelling event, there will be a VIP reception, dinner and reading. Samuelsson is also the bestselling author of his book “Yes, Chef,” an account of his incredible life journey.

PNC Arts Alive Story Festival
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Time: Nov. 17 – 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Price: $10/free for children younger than 12

For families who want to expose their children to live storytelling arts in a fun and age-appropriate way, First Person Arts Festival has the attraction. PNC will host “PNC Arts Alive Story Day: All Roads Lead to Philadelphia,” an all-day event for families to engage in live storytelling together. The day will consist of dancing, heritage and storytelling workshops, a children’s reading nook, stories, food and more fun for the family. There will be live performances happening throughout the day consisting of storytelling and dance as well.

First Person Live Arts Festival
Christ Church Neighborhood House
20 N. American St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106

As well as storytelling, First Person Live Arts Festival will host workshops throughout the duration of the festival. Christ Church in Old City will host a tour on its grounds for visitors to view their underground area, steeple and records that date back to 1695. Slam winner and champion,Adam Wade will host an introduction to storytelling workshop. Kathryn “Kisti” Watterson will lead the workshop owning your story. Sonia Sanchez will host mind, body and soul: memoir writing workshop for women.

Janet Todd is a freelance writer covering all things Philadelphia. Her work can be found on