The Christmas Revels

A French-Canadian Celebration of the Winter Solstice

Take an enchanting journey to a charming Québec village and revel in the winter holidays. In the late December chill, the glow of hearth fires warms the spirits of the villagers as they prepare for the time of celebration—le temps des Fêtes! Amidst this holiday cheer, a group of young men prepares to set out after profit and adventure—to be voyageurs. They paddle a huge canoe across rivers and lakes, deep into the wild Canadian woods—but not even rugged terrain can stop them from rejoining their loved ones in time for New Year’s Eve!

This energetic Québécois winter celebration features joyous carols, toe-tapping dances, and foot-stomping instrumentals, blending old French traditions with New World ingenuity. Be prepared for a mysterious bargain, a ride in a flying canoe, thrilling tales, and more. Join our cast of over 100, ages 8–80, to sing along and dance in the aisles. Welcome Yule!

Through music, dance, and drama, each year Revels draws on traditions and rituals from a different land, people, and era — medieval, Elizabethan, 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.


Saturday, December 9, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 10, 2:00pm
Friday, December 15, 7:30pm (Family Friday)
Saturday, December 16, 2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday, December 17, 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


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

Tickets Now on Sale

Service charges apply:
$2.50 per ticket plus
$3.50 per orderStoryteller in French-Canadian Revels

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 15 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 10 at 2:00pm

Area Dining Recommendations & Discounts

District Commons: An American Bistro
Washington Revels recommends these great Lisner-area restaurants, which have partnered with us to offer you a special discount when you show your Christmas Revels ticket! All are within easy walking distance from from the Foggy Bottom Metro Station and the Auditorium.

District Commons

Traditional American tavern with raw bar, shareable appetizers, and a range of entrées.
Special offer: Show your Christmas Revels ticket and receive a free drink with your meal!

View Map: Lisner Auditorium to District Commons

El Chalán

Peruvian cuisine with lunch & dinner menus – try their famous Lomo Saltado, plus desserts and a fabulous wine list. Not to be missed!
Special offer: Show your Christmas Revels ticket and receive a free glass of wine or beer with the purchase of any entrée!

View Map: Lisner Auditorium to El Chalán


Housed in a historic corner pharmacy, their menu features American comfort food with a twist – don’t forget to try their signature tots!
Special offer: Present your Christmas Revels ticket for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more*
*not redeemable for cash; one ticket per table visit; not valid with other offers; not valid on to-go orders; valid for one use only

View Map: Lisner Auditorium to Tonic

By Metro:

Take either the Blue or Orange Line to the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. From there, it is a 2 block walk to Lisner Auditorium.

View Map: Walking Directions

Where to Park Around Lisner Auditorium:

Street Parking: Some street parking is unmetered but most is either metered or “Park & Pay.” Parking is free on Sundays, but not on Fridays or Saturdays until a specified time in the evening (varies between 6:30pm, 8:30pm and 10pm – check the signs and meters). In some locations you can only purchase street parking for a maximum of 2 hours (4 hours with a handicapped sticker), but in others you can purchase unlimited parking from 6:30 to 10pm.

Garage Parking: There are 5 parking garages (each described below) near Lisner that are open during all relevant show hours. Two are GW University garages. They are the closest options to Lisner – 1-1/2 and 2 blocks away – and have a flat rate of $11 after 5pm on weekdays and $12 on weekends. The other 3 options are all Colonial garages, all of which have a flat rate of $11 or $12 after 5pm on weekdays and on weekends. (Nearby PMI garages are all closed during the hours of our shows.) NOTE: The (GW) Marvin Center Garage (the closest garage to Lisner), is no longer open on weekends. Also, the (GW) Academic Center Garage, entrance on the south side of I (Eye) Street between 21st and 22d Streets, is no longer open to visitors at any time. It has been replaced by the new University Garage (see below).

Click the garages below for more details. Click here to download a printable PDF description of Lisner-area parking.

GW University Garage

GW G Street Garage

Colonial Garage, Lot 769

Colonial Garage, Lot 76

Colonial Garage, Lot 180

2017 Guest Artists


The mesmerizing voice of Québécois artist Mélisande offers a fresh take on the rich heritage of traditional francophone songs. She reimagines traditional music with a feminist perspective and a distinctly modern sound. Described by the Huffington Post as “an unusually well-balanced blend” that achieves a “hard-edged traditude,” her songs take audiences on a journey through time and space to discover timeless realities of women’s life. Her band, Mélisande [électrodrad], won the 2016 Independent Music Awards Vox Pop World Beat Album of the Year for their debut album, Les métamorphoses. She also received the 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Traditional Singer of the Year, and was nominated for the 2015 Félix Award (Québec) Album of the Year – Traditional. Mélisande [électrodrad]’s second album, Les millésimes, was released this year on Borealis Records.


Described by RootsWorld Magazine as “a band of trickster conjurers, performing rhythmic sleight-of-hand on the dance music of their native Québec,” the three-man band Genticorum has become a fixture on the international world, trad, folk and Celtic music circuit. Pascal Gemme (fiddle/foot percussion), Yann Falquet (guitar/button accordion), and Nicholas Williams (flute/accordion/piano) each bears deep respect for the traditional repertoire of Québec while contributing an individual blend of musical practices. Yann Falquet is an active and creative acoustic guitar player on the Québécois music scene. With a B.Mus. in Jazz, he has explored many styles of music and has developed a personal guitar style for Québec folk music inspired by the music of Brittany, Scandinavia, Ireland, and North America. His involvement in Québec’s music scene has led to performances on numerous recordings, and in addition to his work with Genticorum, he toured for three years with the award-winning Celtic and world group The McDades. Yann has taught his guitar style at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in Limerick, at the Goderich Celtic College, and for Alasdair Fraser’s Fiddle Train and Sierra Fiddle Camp. Pascal Gemme is a leading light in Québec’s traditional music scene, known as much for his original compositions as for his fine interpretation of traditional tunes. From a young age, the fiddle music and songs of his native province captivated him. After graduating with a degree in composition and band arrangements from Montreal’s St. Laurent College, he immersed himself in the traditional music around him, playing, collecting and recording music found all over Québec. Pascal has developed a vast knowledge and is a leading exponent of the music. He is now much in demand as a teacher, performer, and producer. Nicholas Williams graduated from York University in  Toronto where he studied world music, contemporary improvisation, and composition. Since then he has immersed himself in the world of traditional music, where he is most known for his distinctive and rhythmic style of flute playing. Drawing mainly from Irish and North Indian flute playing techniques, he is also influenced by the musical traditions of Québec, Brittany, Sweden, and the United States. An accomplished accordion and piano player, he has been a member of the band Crowfoot since 2005, plays with fiddler Laura Risk, and performs in the Alex Kehler & Nicholas Williams duo.

Pierre Chartrand

Born in Montreal, Pierre Chartrand is a dance historian-ethnologist, a choreographer, a master step dancer, and an artful dance caller. Dancing for more than 40 years, he has taught and performed regularly in Québec, Canada, the United States, and Europe. After earning his Dance Masters from La Sorbonne (Paris, France – 1991), he founded the Centre Mnémo, an archive center on traditional French-Canadian dance and music. He has published folk music and dance books for Mnémo, has written many articles for magazines, and frequently speaks at folk music programs and conferences. He has also won awards, including the International Dance Medal in Madagascar (1997) and the Prize of Best Choreography from the Independent Reviewers of New England (2005). He teaches at the dance program of the Université du Québec à Montréal. In 2000, he founded his company, Danse Cadence, and has produced many shows, including Rapetipetam, Chasse-Galerie, and Le Bal des Ménestriers.

Shannon Dunne

Shannon Dunne is an acclaimed percussive dancer and musician, specializing in sean-nós dance and traditional Irish music (concertina, B/C accordion, and piano). The worth of a dancer like Shannon is in her ability to convey the connection of music and dance—and convey she does. Her work with master dancers such as Róisín Ní Mhainín, Pádraig Ó hOibicín, Gearóid and Patrick Devane, to name but a few, has given her intimate access to this tight-knit dance community and has afforded her a place among the top sean-nós dancers in North America. Shannon’s talents and abilities have been recognized by many an art-based organization including the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her collaborative nature has seen her dance on stages across the globe with groups such as Mick Moloney’s Celitc Appalachia and Green Fields of America, Kitchen Quartet, Christylez Bacon’s Washington Sound Museum, as well as record with musicians such as DC-based ensemble Lilt. She is thrilled for the opportunity to work with dance master Pierre Chartrand, and to delve into the Québécois dance tradition! Visit Shannon’s website at

Katrina Van Duyn

Katrina Van Duyn reprises the role of Raconteur, which she first performed in the Québécois Christmas Revels production of 2008. Other Revels roles: Haddon Hall (Lady Kathleen), Renaissance (“Good Queen Bess,” Elizabeth I), and Victorian Storybook (the Lady of the House and multiple storybook characters). It is always a delight to share in the Revelry! Ms. Van Duyn has worked in theatre since the 1980s, supporting that vocation with a career as an editor. A member of and volunteer with the Alliance Française, Ms. Van Duyn teaches French privately and for Arlington County, where she also is certified with the Master Gardener and Tree Steward public education programs. Bonne fête à tous!

Steve Winick

Steve Winick is pleased to reprise the role of Gaston, the lovable but reckless rogue who leads the voyageurs astray. He first played the role in the 2008 Washington Christmas Revels, and performs Gaston’s songs along with others on the Washington Revels CD Le Temps des Fêtes. He has been singing traditional songs—French, Canadian, Irish, and English—for over thirty years. He currently sings with the Ocean Celtic Quartet and Jennifer Cutting’s Ocean Orchestra, and appears occasionally with the Ship’s Company Chanteymen. He has performed widely at such venues as The Birchmere, the Music Center at Strathmore, the Globe Theater, and the Mystic Sea Music Festival. Steve has a PhD in Folklore and Folklife, and works as the writer and editor for the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. He has published widely on folklore and folk music in both academic and popular publications, has taught university folklore courses, and has lectured or moderated panels at conferences and festivals around the world. Steve was originally approached by Washington Revels in 2008 to be an expert consultant, and continues that role this year, helping choose the songs and the featured performers for this year’s show.

Séamus Miller

Séamus Miller (Etienne) is pleased to return to Washington Revels, having previously appeared as Darragh in the Irish Revels (2014). He has worked as an actor, director, and teaching artist with many organizations, including Longacre Lea, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 1st Stage, WSC: Avant Bard, Arts on the Horizon, Spooky Action Theater, Imagination Stage, Young Playwrights’ Theater, Educational Theatre Company, Annapolis Shakespeare Company, American Century Theater, and The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival. He holds a degree from Cornell University and is a recent graduate of the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting MFA at George Washington University.

Cutting Edge Sword

CR2017 - Cutting Edge Rapper Sword

Cutting Edge Sword, a sword dance group from Washington, D.C., performs new and re-interpreted sword and percussive dance styles including dances from the rapper and longsword traditions of the UK and Italy. Many of these dances originated in the mining districts of England and feature intricate and fast-moving figures with interlocked swords. Members of the team also perform percussive dances from the US and Canada. The team lives and dances socially in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The group has performed numerous times with Washington Revels and remains a favorite of the Revels audiences year after year. The group was founded by David Shewmaker, and current members include David Roodman, Dave Casserly, Jerry Stein, Lynn Baumeister, Ted Hodapp, and Tom Spilsbury, with Sarah Foard on the Fiddle.

Washington Revels Brass

CR2017 - Washington Revels Brass (2008)
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.

 2011 Andalusian Production


 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
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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.