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California Revels

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Performing Arts

Mission: Founded in 1986, California Revels is a community-based performing arts organization with a lengthy track record of artistic excellence, popular support, and sound fiscal management. California Revels uses its unique performance style to explore age-old community celebrations of the renewal of life: the waning and waxing of light surrounding the shortest day (the winter solstice), the rebirth of Spring, the darkness of Fall and the brightness of Summer. Exploring these themes through the prisms of different cultures, Revels uniquely illustrates and underscores the basic human conditions that bind us all together at a time when the need for such understanding has never been greater. We take our cues from both professional and community music theater genres. Our use of professional performers as featured actors, singers, dancers, and musicians sets a high standard for our productions, but the deliberate use of talented amateurs helps the audience feel included in an intimate way. To revel means to engage in boisterous festivity; Revels empowers all who partake to connect more fully to the spirit of community and uphold nearly forgotten rituals of celebration.

Programs: California Revels reaches an inter-generational and multi-ethnic audience base through 3 major programs: 1) our large 11-performance holiday production for close to 12,000 Bay Area residents; 2) Let?s Sing and Learn: Skill Building Through Music (Let?s Sing), a music education program for West Oakland youth; 3) smaller community performances that provide training and exposure for emerging performers and present new theatrical work in intimate neighborhood venues. Our programs meet several artistic as well as educational and community-building objectives that include providing reasonably priced tickets to our community as well as free tickets to low-income populations, fostering the professional development of emerging singers and actors throughout the region, bringing families from diverse communities together to celebrate the various holidays of the winter season and managing our organization with a high level of professionalism to ensure sound fiscal health and the capacity to meet long-range artistic and operational development plans. California Revels also promotes its mission through audio, video, and printed materials.

Community Stories

1 Story from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

Revels builds community through celebration .... every year, at the time of the Winter Solstice, Revels transports the audience to another time and place, exploring the traditions of the shortest day in song, dance, drama and storytelling. Exploring cultures from medieval England to 1900s Ireland, from 17th century Quebec to Renaissance Italy, each show tells the story of a specific cultural celebration of the nearly universal observance of the shortest day. The audience is not just watchers, but active participants sin the show, singing and even dancing along. And all year long, the Solstice Ensemble appears at May Day events, summer and autumn festivals, to mark the seasons and the turning of the year.