The Christmas Revels

A Nordic Winter Celebration

This year we celebrate the winter solstice in the “land of the midnight sun” with haunting melodies, breathtaking dance, a mysterious folk legend, and enough carols to get you into the holiday spirit!  As our families from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden gather to celebrate the season, we invite you to join us on this journey into Nordic culture as we bring light into the darkness through joyous song and celebration.

Hear tales from the Kalevala, an epic Finnish poem told through story and song.  As the moon lights the snow, watch as the Icelandic vikivaki dance circles and a mysterious stag looks on.  Celebrate the traditional “bringing of the light” by Sankta Lucia with her crown of candles.  Watch as dancers twirl in the hypnotic telespringar and be thrilled by the halling dance as the kicks and leaps go higher and higher.  Be charmed by our children as they sing, dance, and present a charming retelling of the Norwegian fairy tale “The Three Billy Goats Gruff” which you will be invited to participate in!

Join our cast of over 100, ages 8–85, for rollicking traditional tunes, seasonal carols, moving folk songs, familiar Revels sing alongs, and spirited Nordic dances. During this darkest time of the year, experience the levande ljus (living light) of the Nordic spirit and the inward light that comes through honoring these beloved traditions. Glædelig Jul | Hyvaa joulua | Gledileg Jol | God Jul | God Jul

Donate $100 or more by September 30 to receive Early Priority Ticketing to the show! Learn more & donate here.

Washington Revels’ flagship production, The Christmas Revels, is a festive celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return of sun and light after the “shortest day.”

Through music, dance and drama, it draws on traditions and rituals from many lands, peoples, and eras — medieval, Renaissance and Victorian English, French, Russian, Roma (Gypsy), African-American, Nordic, American Appalachian, Native American, Renaissance Italian, Québécois, medieval Andalusian (Sephardic, Arabic and Spanish), southern Balkan (Bulgarian, Greek and Thracian Turkish), Irish, and more.

2016 Performance Dates & Times


Saturday, December 10, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 11, 2:00pm
Friday, December 16, 7:30pm (Family Friday)
Saturday, December 17, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 18, 1:00pm & 5:00pm


Orchestra A-N (Center):  Adult $60  |  Youth $40
Orchestra A-N (Sides):  Adult $50  |  Youth $32
Terrace* AA-JJ:  Adult $45  |  Youth $27
Terrace* KK-RR:  Adult $30  |  Youth $20
Terrace* SS-UU:  Adult $18  |  Youth $12
Wheelchair Spaces** (Row N): see Row N pricing above
Youth = 18 and under

* Terrace seats require climbing stairs
**Wheelchair seating: please call 301-587-3835


GW Lisner Auditorium
730 21st Street NW
Washington, DC 20052

Donate $100 or more before September 30 and receive Early Priority Ticketing! Learn more and donate today.

Service charges: $2.50 per ticket plus
$3.50 per order

BY PHONE: 1-800-595-4849 (24/7)
Service charges: $3.75 per ticket plus
$3.50 per order


*Please Note: In addition to lower per-ticket fees, purchasing tickets online allows you to select the exact seats you want. Ordering “By Phone” gives you the “best available” seats according to a computer, which may not reflect your judgment as to what is best.

10% off for groups of 10-19; 20% off for groups of 20 or more*
Service charges: $2.50 per ticket plus $3.50 per order
* Available only through the Washington Revels office: call 301-587-3835

25% off Youth tickets on December 16 at 7:30pm
Save money and bring the whole family on Friday night!!
Please Note: Discounted Youth tickets do not count toward 10-ticket and 20-ticket thresholds for purposes of group discounts.

All performances wheelchair accessible.
Audio Description – Sunday, December 11 at 2:00pm

2016 Guest Artists

Andrea Hoag, Loretta Kelley, Charlie Pilzer

Andrea Hoag, Loretta Kelley, Charlie Pilzer

Andrea Hoag, Loretta Kelley, and Charlie Pilzer have performed at concerts and dances across the U.S. and in Europe for over 25 years, including appearances on All Things Considered, Performance Today, and Prairie Home Companion. They can be heard together on the CDs Hambo in the Snow and Hambo in the Barn. Andrea, widely known for her versatile fiddling, is a 1984 graduate of Malungs Folkhögskola, and studied intensively with elder fiddlers Päkkos Gustaf and Nils Agenmark. Loretta is America’s foremost player of the hardingfele (Hardanger fiddle), an ornately-decorated Norwegian folk violin with sympathetic strings and a 300-year-old tradition. She has studied with numerous master fiddlers in Norway and placed highly in Norwegian fiddle competitions. Charlie is an award-winning performer and producer of traditional and acoustic music. He is a long-time member of Spælimenninir, a folk band based in the Faroe Islands.

Washington Revels Brass

Remembrance of Things Brassed
The Washington Revels Brass in roughly its present form joined the Washington Revels in 1996. The players had been long-time friends and colleagues, and the Washington Revels organization was the catalyst that fashioned them into a solid entity. The ensemble views itself in a certain sense as a microcosm of Revels everywhere: they have their own rituals, traditions and personality. They differ from every other part of the Revels only in that their ways are largely invisible to all but themselves.

CR logo 300 pixelsOur flagship production, The Christmas Revels, is a festive, fully staged celebration of the Winter Solstice and the return of sun and light after the “shortest day,” radiating hope and joy in the renewal of life and the circle of the seasons. Seen by over 10,000 people every December, it draws on traditions and rituals from many lands and peoples, focusing each year on a different culture or related cultures.

Select a link below to learn more about that production.

 Revels DC 2010 (Mellstock)


 Photos from the Thomas Hardy Revels

 Photo from African-American Revels

  • 2000: Celtic
  • 1999: Celestial Fools
  • 1998: Shepherd Alley – Washington, D.C.
  • 1997: Medieval – King and the Fool
  • 1996: Northlands
  • 1995: French
  • 1994: Victorian
  • 1993: Celtic
  • 1992: Celestial Fools
  • 1991: Russian and American

 Photo from an early Washington Revels production

  • 1990: Medieval
  • 1989: Storybook
  • 1988: Medieval
  • 1987: Celtic
  • 1986: French
  • 1985: Appalachian-American (featuring Jean Ritchie)
  • 1984: “Haddon Hall”
  • 1983: Medieval


Washington Revels, Inc.
531 Dale Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20910
Map, Directions and Parking
301-587-3835 (voice)
888-587-9050 (fax)

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Revels® and Christmas Revels® are federally registered service marks of Revels Inc., Watertown, Mass.