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What’s a StorySlam?

A StorySlam is more than a storytelling competition. It’s an invitation to share five minutes of your life in a room full of people who appreciate a well-told tale. Audience storytellers take to the stage with real life stories on the theme of the night. Winners get a $100 prize and the chance to compete in the season finale GrandSlam. Got five minutes? Come and lend an ear, or share an experience.

How does a StorySlam work?

First Person Arts StorySlams are like open mics for people who love stories. Every month, we provide a theme, and you get real by taking our stage to tell a 100% true, personal story. You’ve got 5 minutes to entertain the “most engaged audience in Philly.” No notes or props allowed.

Tips for storytellers

  • Hook the audience and judges with a compelling first line.
  • Know your first and last lines when you get on stage. They will help you keep your story on track, especially if you get nervous.
  • Tell your story from your point of view, not someone else’s. First Person is in our name, after all.
  • Structure your story with a great beginning, an engaging middle, and a memorable ending. But they don’t necessarily need to be in that order.
  • Remember: the audience doesn’t know you. Yet.
  • Keep the audience engaged by getting real with them about your journey. A little vulnerability can help you connect with the audience and the judges.
  • Sprinkle your story with details that set the scene and give insights into your experiences and emotions.
  • Lean into the funny where you find it. The weird can be wonderful when telling your story.
  • Don’t be afraid to be seen trying. The audience and judges are rooting for you. And so are we.
  • Have fun. StorySlams are open-mic storytelling competitions, but don’t let the pressure get to you.
  • Leave the audience with a last line they won’t forget that makes them want more.

Get real at a First Person Arts StorySlam

Step 1: Toss your name in the bucket

Submit your first line in advance to Submit or throw your name in the bucket at the door.

Step 2: Share your story

You get 5 minutes on the mic to tell your true story and get real on stage. Sorry, folks. No props or notes are allowed.

Step 3: Vote for your fave

Score each storyteller on Content and Presentation using a ten-point scale. Circle your favorite to vote for the audience favorite.

Scoring a StorySlam

And The Winner Is…



The highest scoring participant wins $100 plus an invitation to perform in the Grand Slam, where they will vie for the title of “Best Storyteller in Philadelphia” and free StorySlam admission for life.



The entire audience rates each performance, and the storyteller with the highest audience score at the end of the StorySlam season wins a spot at the Grand Slam.