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Meet Your 15th Season Grand Slam Host, Margot Leitman!

Margot3_Credit Mindy Tucker


It’s the most wonderful time of the year! (No, we’re not talking winter holidays yet. Sorry.) Autumn is rolling in, with our 14th Annual First Person Arts Festival Presented by PNC Arts Alive riding its coattails in the apple and pumpkin-scented wind.

Comedic storyteller, writer, and teacher Margot Leitman hosts this year’s 15th Season Grand Slam at the Festival! (Psst! This show always sells out. Grab your tickets now!) An accomplished tale-spinner herself, Margot is a five-time Moth StorySLAM winner, Moth GrandSLAM winner, and the author of two books: Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll Ever Need, and Gawky: Tales of an Extra Long Awkward Phase. She also co-hosts the hilarious sex-themed storytelling show Stripped Stories.

Let’s get to know her!

FPA: Margot, as co-host of storytelling’s sexiest show, Stripped Stories, what is the hottest, riskiest story you’ve ever told in front of a live audience?

ML: Well, let’s just say I chose to tell it live and didn’t have it recorded for a reason. I can just picture my dad (who is quite computer savvy) Googling me and uncovering the sordid details of a mistake in judgment I made when I was 23. You just can’t un-see that!​

FPA: You’ve just recently published a new book, Long Story Short: The Only Storytelling Guide You’ll ever Need. What’s your #1 tip for this season’s talented Grand Slam contestants?

ML: It doesn’t need to be a “big story” i.e. a near death story about dangling from a cliff, to be a good story. As long as you were affected by what happened, even if it’s a “small story” like getting fired from a temp job, your audience will be on board. Passion and emotional response to the story you are recounting will take you very far. ​

FPA: You’ve performed all over the world—from New York,​ to Australia, to Chicago,​ to LA. What do you love most about Philly audiences?​

ML: Oh boy, are they smart! Very worldly. They get references that go above a lot of audience’s heads.

FPA: Who is your storytelling hero/muse and why?

ML: ​Is it cliche to say Spalding Gray? Does everyone say that? It’s true. I picked up his manuscript for Monster in a Box off the ​​shelf at my parents house one visit many years ago and read it in one sitting. I felt on fire afterwards because it inspired me so much. Reading his works and researching him changed me. It inspired me to start doing this, and seeing how far it took him drives me daily to see how far storytelling can take me. ​​​Or I guess I should say, how far I can take storytelling.​

FPA: This is our 14th year Festival. In honor of that, share a 14-word story with us!

ML: The same day as my bad car accident, I discovered my severe cat allergy. ​

And there you have it! Click here to grab your 15th Season Grand Slam tickets and see Margot live!

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15th Season First Person Arts Grand Slam
DATE Thursday, Nov. 5
TIME Doors at 7PM, Show at 8PM
LOCATION World Cafe Live, Downstairs (3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia)
       Before Oct. 23: $19
       After Oct. 23: $22
       FPA Members: $17


-Hannah, Marketing Intern

Upcoming Events
  • StorySlam: Windfall
  • Date: August 27, 2019
  • Time: 7:30 PM
  • Venue: CSZ Philadelphia
  • Location: 2030 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107