About Washington Revels

An established cultural institution in the greater Washington area for over 35 years, Washington Revels is dedicated to reviving, sustaining, expanding, and celebrating cultural traditions — in music, dance, storytelling, and drama — that bind people together in spirit and joy.

… 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.

Our Mission

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
  • Multi-generational
  • Marking and celebrating the seasons and the cycle of life
  • Volunteer-based, professionally led

Artistic Staff

Roberta GasbarreArtistic Director
Andrea Jones Blackford, Associate Artistic Director
Elizabeth Anne FulfordMusic Director
Michael Matheson, Director, Washington Revels Maritime Voices

Office Staff

Colin K. Bills, Producing Director
Ross Wixon, Administrating Director
Greg Lewis, Director of Special Projects
Grace VanderVeer, Community Stewardship & Volunteer Manager
John Blakeslee, Office Manager
Susan Hall Lewis, Company Manager (volunteer)
Will Wurzel, Director of Information Technology (volunteer) 

Board of Directors

Joan Burns, chair
Gary R. Correll, treasurer
Karen Schofield-Leca, secretary
Jane Bloodworth
Meredith Cabe
William B. Conway
Claudia Dulmage
Aryn Geier
Cynthia Shauer Langstaff
Terry Winslow
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 History

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.