… A seasonal gift to the community in song, dance, magic, foolery and tradition — The Washington Post
Staged or informal, large or small, Revels celebrations involve adults and children of all ages, mixing professionals and nonprofessionals. Audience participation is a hallmark: singing, dancing or becoming part of the drama, Revels audiences are always an integral part of the productions. Whether participating in a Revels celebration from the audience or stage, people invariably leave with smiles on their faces and joy in their hearts.
Annual events include the professionally staged and directed Christmas Revels at Lisner Auditorium (drawing over 10,000 attendees each December), May Revels, plus Community Sings, Pub Sings, parades and more. Venues for these and many other productions range from outdoor parks to a 1500-seat theater.
To create Community through Celebration! Washington Revels uses performance, education, and community engagement to revive, sustain, expand, and celebrate cultural traditions — in music, dance, storytelling, and drama — that bind people together in spirit and joy. We strive to illustrate the world’s common humanity, connecting all people in a community that stretches across ethnic, cultural, and religious divisions, and through time.
Our Signature Characteristics
- Musical, theatrical, educational
- Exploring folk traditions and cultures
- Participatory and engaging
- Diverse and inclusive
- Marking and celebrating the seasons and the cycle of life
- Volunteer-based, professionally led
Roberta Gasbarre, Artistic Director
Elizabeth Anne Fulford, Music Director
Andrea Jones Blackford, Director, Washington Revels Jubilee Voices
Michael Matheson, Director, Washington Revels Maritime Voices
Colin K. Bills, Producing Director
Ross Wixon, Administrating Director
Jo Rasi, Community Engagement Director
Greg Lewis, Director of Special Projects
Grace VanderVeer, Volunteer & Education Manager
John Blakeslee, Office Manager
Susan Hall Lewis, Company Manager (volunteer)
Will Wurzel, Director of Information Technology (volunteer)
Board of Directors
Jim Lazar, chair
Gary R. Correll, treasurer
Cynthia Schauer Langstaff
Colin K. Bills, ex officio
Ross Wixon, ex officio
Washington Revels in the Community
Washington Revels is an active participant in the broader community. In the past, we have partnered with the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution’s Discovery Theater, adapting materials from three of its Christmas Revels productions into multi-media programs seen by over 7000 school children.
Our annual Outreach Performance reaches more than 1,200 students, seniors, and others who would not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the joy of a Christmas Revels.
Under our Community Initiative, Washington Revels partnered with school, church and neighborhood groups to produce Revels-style community theater, providing production and directorial support while engaging the people of the partner communities as performers and as part of the production team.
Revels was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1971 and is now active in ten cities across the United States. Each city is an independent nonprofit institution with its own board, office and artistic staff, and separate finances. An umbrella organization, Revels, Inc., maintains artistic standards for all cities, researches traditional materials from many cultures, and assists with scripts and music.
- Find out about the origins of the Revels.
- Learn more about Revels founder John Meredith Langstaff.
- Revels productions take place all through the year around the country.
Washington Revels Future
After a quarter-century in the District of Columbia, Washington Revels relocated to new premises in Silver Spring, MD in the summer of 2009. Our new, multi-purpose facility—constructed and rented to us through the extraordinary generosity of benefactor William L. Ritchie, Jr.—has enabled Washington Revels to expand educational programming, staged celebrations, and community involvement for Montgomery County and the entire Washington metropolitan area.