In Cambridge Mass in 1971, John Langstaff founded Revels, Inc. to link the music, dances, and seasonal rituals from an older world to a modern world that needs them.
What is Revels? Revels is song. Revels is dance. Revels celebrates the seasons and cycles of human life through the arts, the songs and dances, and the stories from traditional cultures. Audiences recognize the events, desires, and dilemmas from another place and time as their own. In Cambridge, Spring Sing hails the renewal of life and color; SummersDay Revels glories in abundance; RiverSing marks cooler, darker days. In every Revels city, The Christmas Revels welcomes the return of the light.
Revels is community. A Revels production brings a volunteer chorus of children and adults and professional actors, musicians, designers, and directors into community. At each performance, this community invites the audience to join it. The audience always accepts the invitation, to make noises, to sing carols, to join hands with strangers and dance. Audience participation is the hallmark of Revels.
Revels is tradition. At the heart of each Revels production are the dancers, singers, and storytellers who preserve the arts and traditions of their own cultures. And through its respect for tradition, Revels has created its own. What would the holidays be without “The Shortest Day,” the “Sussex Mummers Carol,” and “Lord of the Dance”?
Revels is education. Revels’ commitment to education is the legacy of John Langstaff’s rich and varied career as an educator. In Cambridge and some other cities, Revels offers educational programs for children and families, along with recordings, songbooks, lesson plans, how-to manuals, and choral arrangements of the music from its performances.
Revels is growing. The tree of Revels has deep roots, with production companies in ten cities: Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York City; Washington, D.C.; Hanover, New Hampshire; Oakland and Santa Barbara, California; Houston, Texas; Tacoma, Washington; Portland, Oregon, and Boulder, Colorado. And Revels inspires smaller productions across the nation. What has compelled so many to do so much for so long to help this tree grow?
Revels is joy.