The Christmas Revels

An American Winter Solstice Celebration

This holiday, join Washington Revels for a homegrown celebration of the Winter Solstice that honors our shared American roots through music, dance, and story.

It is December 1870 in Washington, DC, and in the elegant parlor of Senator Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress, the household is preparing for a party! Hiram and his wife Phoebe have invited colleagues and friends from near and far to celebrate the season and to look ahead to a new year.

With joyous carols, traditional melodies, heartfelt spirituals and toe-tapping dances, guests from all walks of life meet under the Revels family roof. In the midst of this camaraderie the merrymakers also take care of their Yuletide community — welcoming a traveler with an urgent request, seeking out a lost love, and comforting a melancholy man longing for the joy of the season.

Together, all who enter Senator Revels’ home share the hope that long years of national struggle are in the past; remember those who have gone before; and take joy in reunion with loved ones who were separated for many years.

After our own months apart, Washington Revels invites you to ring in the holidays with a Christmas Revels featuring local artists, the Washington Revels Brass and the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices. Whether you revel with us in-person or from the comfort of home, we will celebrate the Winter Solstice in a uniquely American way with the stories, music and traditions that bring us closer — Welcome Yule!

How to Revel:

  • 8 In-Person Performances from December 10-12 & 17-19
  • Video-on-Demand from December 21-January 6
  • Full performance dates and ticketing info here.

Learn More!

Planning is still in motion for this December’s Christmas Revels. While you wait for final details, we encourage you to read our Frequently Asked Questions page at the button below:

We have updated our Health & Safety Policies for Audiences, Performers and Volunteers. Find this important information at the button below:

Support Revels Online

Make a Donation

You can make a one-time donation or set your recurring gift at the button above.

Give by Phone

Call the Revels office with your credit
card information at 301-587-3835

Give by Check

Send a check payable to “Washington Revels” to:
Washington Revels, Inc.
PO Box 665
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Donate Stock

Make a donation of stock or other securities by calling the office for instructions

Washington Revels is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, so donations are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law.

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2021 PERFORMANCES

Live & In Person:

First Weekend

  • Friday, December 10, 7:30 pm – NEW opening weekend Friday performance!
  • Saturday, December 11, 2 pm & 7:30 pm
  • Sunday, December 12, 2 pm

Second Weekend

  • Friday, December 17, 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, December 18, 2 pm
  • Sunday, December 19, 2 pm & 7 pm

Note that some performances/performance times are different from recent years.

2021 Christmas Revels On-Demand:

Enjoy a video of year’s Solstice celebration from the comfort of home!

  • Watch On-Demand from December 21–January 6

TICKETS

Coming Soon! Tickets to the in-person performances and on-demand video go on sale in November.

VENUE

The Spanish Ballroom
Glen Echo Park

7300 MacArthur Boulevard
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Learn more about our 2021 venue here.

The Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park

We are excited to announce that this year’s production will be staged at the historic Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD!

In this transitional year, the Washington Revels staff has worked diligently to identify a venue that would allow us to ensure health & safety while simultaneously meeting our ticketing goals and providing an enjoyable audience experience. We are fortunate to be at the Spanish Ballroom! The art deco performance space is a magical place to stage a Revels, and Glen Echo’s beautiful outdoor campus affords us the space to spread out for fresh air before and after the show and during intermission.

Located off the Capital Beltway, with convenient, free on-site parking and public transit access by bus from the Red Line metro, Glen Echo Park is accessible from DC, Maryland, and Virginia. We will provide much more information on getting to Glen Echo, and what to do in and around the Park as part of your Christmas Revels experience, as we get closer to December.

VENUE

The Spanish Ballroom
Glen Echo Park

7300 MacArthur Boulevard
Glen Echo, MD 20812

Health & Safety Information

Policy for Audience Members:

  • To ensure the safety of our audiences, performers, volunteers, and staff, Washington Revels is requiring Christmas Revels attendees to show proof of full vaccination* against COVID-19 or a negative COVID test result taken within 72 hours of the performance. Children who are not eligible to be vaccinated may attend with a negative test result. Per Montgomery County, MD regulations, all audience members must be masked while indoors at Glen Echo Park, including during the performance. We will provide options to indicate your vaccine/test status closer to your performance date. All policies to protect the health and safety of our performers, volunteers, audience, and staff are subject to modification as circumstances evolve.

Vaccination Policy for Performers and Volunteers

  1. Anyone performing, rehearsing, or otherwise gathering as a Washington Revels performer or volunteer for a public Washington Revels event must be fully vaccinated* for COVID-19. This applies to any gatherings for singing together as organized by Washington Revels.
  2. Non-performing volunteers who are not vaccinated will be permitted to participate in Washington Revels activities on a case-by-case basis, but will not be permitted in tasks that include interactions with Washington Revels performers or the public. In all cases, these individuals will be required to be masked and distanced as appropriate.
  3. In all cases, documented proof of vaccination will be required to participate in Revels activities unmasked.

* Fully vaccinated means at least two weeks past the last required injection based on manufacturer’s recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Every year, we get asked many excellent questions about The Christmas Revels. And this year, as we return from pandemic lockdowns towards in-person events, we expect we will receive many more. We’ve tried to anticipate and answer the ones we could think of here. If you have a question that isn’t answered below, or if you would like clarification on any of these FAQs, please send an email to info@revelsdc.org.

We will continue to update this page as we finalize decisions, learn more, and receive new questions. [Updated October 9, 2021]

Questions & Answers:

  1. Will the 2021 Christmas Revels be live and in-person? Yes, there will be a live in-person production this year.
  2. Will there be a virtual viewing option? Yes, the 2021 Christmas Revels will be filmed and released for on-demand viewing from December 21-January 6.
  3. Where will The Christmas Revels be staged this year? The Christmas Revels will be staged at the historic Spanish Ballroom at Glen Echo Park in Glen Echo, MD.
  4. Is the Spanish Ballroom wheelchair accessible? Yes: there is a wheelchair elevator in the lobby and the Ballroom is fully accessible.
  5. Are there restrooms in the Ballroom?  The Ballroom includes full restrooms.  There are additional restrooms in other parts of the Glen Echo Park grounds near the Ballroom. All restrooms are fully accessible.
  6. Why is The Christmas Revels not being staged at Lisner Auditorium this year? The pandemic has challenged not only performing arts organizations like Washington Revels, but also presenting venues like Lisner Auditorium, which has gone through many changes in the past 18 months; some of those changes impacted their staffing, including the front-of-house personnel that we knew would be critical to safely operating in a large venue during the pandemic. While we have a wonderful and committed volunteer community, we would not be able to safely manage a space that size ourselves, and so we made the difficult decision to identify a smaller venue for this year. 
  7. Why did you select Glen Echo Park as the venue? You can learn more about the decision to stage this year’s Christmas Revels at Glen Echo Park here.
  8. How do I get to Glen Echo Park? Glen Echo is accessible by car from the Capital Beltway with ample free public parking; it is also accessible via public transit by busses departing from the Bethesda and Friendship Heights Red Line Metro stations. A comprehensive guide on getting to the Park, as well as local dining options, will be available on our website closer to the start of performances.
  9. When are the 2021 performances? This year we will offer our usual eight performances over the weekends of December 10-12 and 17-19. Exact performance dates and times will be announced when tickets go on sale, if not earlier.
  10. When will tickets go on sale? Tickets will go on sale in mid-November. Tickets will only be available online.
  11. How will I receive my ticket?
    • All in-person tickets are sent as a PDF attachment to the email address you used at checkout.
    • On-Demand tickets will include a link to the online viewing page rather than a PDF attachment.
    • If you have trouble finding your ticket email(s), search “tickets@revelsdc.org” in your inbox. If you still cannot find your tickets, simply call us or send an email to tickets@revelsdc.org and we will re-email your tickets to you.
  12. Do I have to print out my tickets? No, you can display your tickets on your mobile device when you arrive at the Spanish Ballroom; however if you have multiple tickets, it may speed things up to print them out in advance.
  13. Can I request my tickets be held at Will Call? To streamline the check-in process we will not be offering Will Call. However we will have a record of all ticket purchases, so if you lose your tickets we will be able to help check you in.
  14. Do I need to purchase a ticket for my child? Yes, you must purchase tickets for your children regardless of their age. Children typically love the shows; however, for your sake and as a courtesy to other patrons, we generally advise that you not bring children unless you are confident that they can sit quietly throughout a 2-hour performance. As a reminder, all children will need to be masked this year and be vaccinated or have a negative COVID test.
  15. I am a Washington Revels donor. Will I get my usual “Early Priority” ticketing benefit? Donors who gave $100 or more between October 1, 2020 and September 26, 2021 will receive Early Priority ticketing benefits. Exact benefits will be announced to qualifying donors during the week of October 11.
  16. What is the 2021 show theme? You can read a detailed description of this year’s theme here.
  17. How long is the show? This year we anticipate that performance will be 2 hours and 15 minutes long, including intermission.
  18. Will there be the usual audience singalongs and audience dancing during “Lord of the Dance”? We have not made final decisions about audience singalongs or other forms of audience-cast interaction. We will make final determinations on these traditional Christmas Revels elements as more information on health and safety becomes available.
  19. Is there a vaccination policy for the audience? Yes. To ensure the safety of our audiences, performers, volunteers, and staff, Washington Revels is requiring Christmas Revels attendees to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID test result taken within 72 hours of the performance. Children who are not eligible to be vaccinated may attend with a negative test result. Per Montgomery County, MD regulations, all audience members must be masked while indoors at Glen Echo Park, including during the performance. We will provide options to indicate your vaccine/test status closer to your performance date. All policies to protect the health and safety of our performers, volunteers, audience, and staff are subject to modification as circumstances evolve. This policy may also be found here.
  20. Is there a vaccination policy for the cast and backstage personnel? You may read Washington Revels’ vaccination policy for performers and volunteers here.
  21. Are there opportunities to volunteer during the production? Yes! If you are interested in volunteering for The Christmas Revels, please email Community Stewardship & Volunteer Manager Grace VanderVeer.

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.

 2011 Andalusian Production

2011-2020

 Photos from the Thomas Hardy Revels

2001-2010

 Photo from African-American Revels

1991-2000

  • 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

1983-1990

  • 1990: Medieval
  • 1989: Storybook
  • 1988: Medieval
  • 1987: Celtic
  • 1986: French
  • 1985: Appalachian-American (featuring Jean Ritchie)
  • 1984: “Haddon Hall”
  • 1983: Medieval

Glen Echo Park is a site owned by the National Park Service. Programs are produced in cooperation with the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, the National Park Service, and Montgomery County.

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