Bringing Tradition to Life
Revels engages today’s audiences in theatrical and musical experiences that bring the world’s cultural traditions and celebrations to life. Since our founding in 1971, over a million people nationwide have joined in the song and dance of Revels’ seasonal celebrations.
Revels creates a truly unique blend of music, dance and storytelling in our staged celebrations of the winter solstice and other seasons. Our creativity stems from a rich heritage of cultural celebrations, and from the tradition bearers from the communities we celebrate. The Revels theatrical vision encourages participation by all, builds connection between diverse people and cultures, and helps fulfill the human need for celebration.
As stewards of tradition, the songs and stories passed down through the generations embody a collected wisdom that can illuminate the past and inform the future. Through the transformative power of performance, we bring tradition alive for today's audiences.
Revels is best known for our annual production of The Christmas Revels, but the annual progression of the calendar provides us a springboard to spread joy in every season. Revels RiverSing, Spring Sing, Salons, and Harbor Cruises and Pub Sings are among the programs we produce throughout the year. Revels also fosters creativity in children through our innovative education programs.
Since our Cambridge, MA founding in 1971, the Revels spirit has extended across the country, taking root in nine additional cities. Our affiliate companies all produce The Christmas Revels and other programs, creating an interconnected community with shared artistic values.
A Tradition for More than 40 Years
The Christmas Revels, the most widely recognized production of Revels, has become a traditional part of family holiday celebrations for 70,000 people across the country each December. As in the very first year, all productions include traditional and ritual dances, processionals, carols and drama. Certain touchstone elements remain the same from year to year, but the settings, place and time change annually encompassing an ever-broadening range of cultures. Recent productions have focused on Victorian England, Renaissance Italy, Armenia and Georgia, a Mexican village, and the Underground Railway of 19th century America. During the production, the audience joins in singing a few simple songs, and a spirited dance into intermission.
Revels' cast and backstage crew include professionals and non-professionals - singers, dancers, and storytellers – children and adults. The mix of professionals and volunteers is key to the Revels artistic vision. The joy of performing and the professional standards attained in performance inspire both groups. The addition of children augments the onstage spirit of family and community, which extends to the audience as well.