The Christmas Revels

2020 “Season of Reveling”

This December’s Christmas Revels will not take place on a stage… but Washington Revels will celebrate nonetheless!

Our Artistic Team has been hard at work imagining the possibilities of a virtual Christmas Revels. Much more information is coming soon! Right now we are excited to share that we will not only present a virtual Winter Solstice Revels, but also we are also planning an ongoing “suite” of Fall programming — A Season of Reveling — with which we plan to:

  1. Revels Book of Days!Learn from tradition bearers from the Revels community who invite us to join them in marking important days within their cultures.
  2. Participate in Revels’ year-round programs that, more than ever before, connect with the diverse tapestry of today’s traditions.
  3. The Winter Solstice Revels!Experience the 37-year legacy of The Christmas Revels — music, dances, and stories of the Winter Solstice enjoyed by 10,000 people each year — in a special Solstice edition as we highlight on- and off-stage magic from this beloved production in ways we could never replicate in a theater.

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For our regular Early Priority Ticketing donors, we are still determining how the Early Priority process will work this year. Thank you for your patience. More info will be coming soon.

Below you can read our Christmas Revels announcement from earlier this Summer and find links to resources on COVID-19 and live performing arts.

May 21 – Update on the 2020 Christmas Revels

Dear Revels Friends,

We know that many of you have been awaiting updates about this year’s Christmas Revels production. In a normal year, we would have announced our show theme in March, the adult chorus would now be cast, and preparations would be well underway — however, 2020 has been anything but normal, and we thank you for your patience and understanding.

As we learned more about COVID-19 and, in particular, the risks posed by the group singing that is so integral to The Christmas Revels, it became clear that a live production at Lisner Auditorium — one that was both safe and satisfying for audience, cast, and crew — would not be possible this December.

Yet we feel strongly, as we are sure you do, that we need The Christmas Revels, the community it creates, and its message of light out of darkness, perhaps now more than ever before. So, with the full support of the Washington Revels board, we are planning a new kind of Christmas Revels experience, taking advantage of ever-evolving tools for connecting and celebrating together.

This was an extremely difficult decision. In our conversations with production staff, volunteers, and board members that informed this change, we all shared a deep sense of loss. But there was also hope, and even excitement for new ways in which we might share Revels magic and traditions.

By taking this step now, rather than waiting until it was forced upon us, we will be able to channel the enormous talent of the Washington Revels community into creating a virtual 2020 Christmas Revels celebration that shines on its own merits. And we hope you will join us on this journey as our Revels village, in a very real way, comes together to plan Winter celebrations that will sustain us through the darkness until the light returns.


Greg Lewis, Executive Director

Click below for more information on COVID-19’s impact on group singing and other resources:


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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