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
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
FAMILY FRIDAY NIGHT:
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
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.
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!
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!
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
Take either the Blue or Orange Line to the Foggy Bottom Metro Station. From there, it is a 2 block walk to Lisner Auditorium.
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.
CREDIT CARD – VISA, MASTERCARD, or AMEX – ONLY
This is the closest garage to Lisner on weekends, just 1-1/2 blocks away. It is located on H Street between 22d and 23rd Streets, on the north side of the Street, underneath the new Science & Engineering Hall. The entrance is clearly marked with a sign saying “University Garage” (do not mistakenly try to enter the garage across the street, which has no sign and is not open to visitors). Open 24/7 (with attendant); has 400 spaces. There are two entrance lanes going in, but after the show there will be two lanes oriented for exit. The credit card payment (NO CASH) is made on the way out, either at the machine at the exit gate or in the building lobby (not as convenient). Elevators serve all levels. Once you have parked your car, take the 22d Street exit elevator to Level 1, exit the building through the doors at the right, turn right and walk about 50 yards to H Street, then turn left on H Street and walk the one block to 21st Street. The Lisner doors will be immediately to your right.
Info: (202) 994-7199
SELF SERVICE AND CREDIT CARD – VISA, MASTERCARD, or AMEX – ONLY
The garage is located in the alley between F and G Streets. The alley is bounded on each side by 20th and 21st Streets, and you can enter the alley from either of those streets (the entrances to the alley are marked with a “Parking” sign). The garage is 2 blocks from Lisner. Open 24/7; has 400 spaces. There are two entrance lanes going in, but after the show there will be two lanes oriented for exit. The credit card payment (NO CASH) is made on the way out, either at the machine at the exit gate or in the lobby of the Plaza above the garage. Elevators serve all levels. There is no attendant, but assistance is supposed to be available at all times on the intercom (we have had generally good reports about this garage, but a few people have complained that assistance was not immediately available on the intercom).
Info: (202) 994-7199
Entrance on 22d Street between I (Eye) Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Very large garage with the most spacious driving lanes. You take a ticket on the way in and pay on the way out. There is only 1 attendant. You can pay at machines before going to your car, but the paid ticket is only good for 5 minutes after you pay, so it is recommended that you pay from your vehicle at the Exit Gate with a credit card when exiting. The Ground Floor takes cash, and P2, P3, Exit Gate and the Ground Floor all take credit. Elevators serve P4 up to Ground Level.
Info: (202) 296-3426
Entrance on I (Eye) Street between 21st and 22d Streets (under TGI Fridays). You pay on the way in, which means that exiting will be easier than the other garages, but entering may get backed up. Elevators do NOT operate at night or on weekends.
Info: (202) 298-7155
Entrance on 20th Street between Pennsylvania Ave and H Street. You pay on the way in, which means that exiting will be easier than the other garages, but entering may get backed up, since there is only one attendant. Elevators serve all floors.
Info: (202) 298-7158
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.
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 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 shannondunnedance.com.
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 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 (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. www.seamusactor.com
Cutting Edge 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
Our 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.
- 2016: A Nordic Celebration (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway & Sweden)
- 2015: A Medieval Celebration of the Winter Solstice
- 2014: An Irish Celebration of the Winter Solstice
- 2013: “Echoes of Thrace” (Bulgaria, Greece & Turkey)
- 2012: “Spirits of Haddon Hall”
- 2011: “Treasures of Andalusia” (Jewish, Arabic & Spanish)
- 2010: Thomas Hardy (featuring The Mellstock Band)
- 2009: Leonardo’s Workshop (Italian Renaissance)
- 2008: French Canadian (Québécois)
- 2007: Elizabethan English
- 2006: Early American
- 2005: Northlands (Nordic)
- 2004: “The King and the Fool” (English Medieval)
- 2003: “Roads of the Roma”
- 2002: Victorian England
- 2001: Leonardo’s Workshop (Italian Renaissance)
- 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
- 1990: Medieval
- 1989: Storybook
- 1988: Medieval
- 1987: Celtic
- 1986: French
- 1985: Appalachian-American (featuring Jean Ritchie)
- 1984: “Haddon Hall”
- 1983: Medieval