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Rejoice with the California Revels!

Updated: Apr 5, 2019



By Matt Larson

This performance company takes an innovative approach with their holiday entertainment.


Over the years many of us here in the East Bay have made a holiday tradition out of attending Christmas Revels, an all-inclusive holiday show produced and performed by the California Revels. Their show changes every year, but their mission of strengthening their community and enlightening society through the spirit of togetherness remains the same.


“I think it’s important to offer audiences a chance to participate in events that give them a sense of history and inclusion,” said Artistic Director David Parr. “It is a powerful remedy to a cynical world that tries so hard to isolate and wall us off from each other.”


Every mid-winter the Revels provide us with a grand celebration of traditions and cultures from around the world, with joyful singing, dancing and storytelling for an uplifting turn of the year. “It gives you hope in the darkest part of the year, but not in a religious way,” said Ellin Barret who is a member of the California Revels Advisory Council. “We have people of all faiths that come, people of all cultures, people who don’t speak English at all but still enjoy the show.”


Last year’s Christmas Revels celebrated the Scottish culture with their production of A Scottish Celebration of the Solstice. This year, the 33rd Annual Christmas Revels is called Ancient Mysteries of Andalusia. The story begins in the year 1600 in Andalusia, Spain, when three individuals from three different cultures—a Muslim, a Jew, and a Christian—all happen to meet. Together they hope to find their way back through time to the era of La Convivencia, a time in which they believe that all cu