1. Community-They audition locals to take the stage. The cast is high quality amateur talent that span a wide range of ages. Because the producers don't have to pay union wages for every actor, singer, dancer, or instrumentalist, the cast can be very large. I would bet nearly everyone in the audience knew someone in the show. I did!
2. Education-Training camps and workshops, classes for kids, teens, mummers and pub sings...Revels revel in making music with whomever they can, whenever they can. Training ensures top notch talent will always be available. There are outreach activities for everyone. I plan to hit the pub sings!
3. Inclusiveness- Multicultural and global, the Revels don't overlook anyone. Past summers the Revels North camp learned about the Abenaki traditions of the Upper Valley. A few seasons ago the winter Revel North production highlighted the Posada of Spain. This year's production takes the audience to the magical highlands of Scotland.
4. Kids- They can access the music very easily because it is specifically arranged to fit the story. There are compelling characters and a fair bit of sword action. We all "get it" on different levels.
5. The Fourth Wall- They break it. They enter the audience, pull unsuspecting members onto the stage and expect singing from 360 degrees.
6. Connection- For last years production, they emailed the audience ahead of time so we could link to their website and enjoy videos about the show and learn our sing a long music. This is a stroke of genius. Why every orchestra in America doesn't email it's future audience with a video welcome, background on what they will be hearing and the etiquette that often intimidates the unfamiliar concert goers, is beyond me.
7. Variety- In the Revels North production last winter we heard music from every time period, from Gregorian Chant to Twenty First Century. There was music by Handel, Ravenscroft, Gibbons, Taverner, Wesley, Holst and Scarlatti just to name a few. They featured both instrumental and vocal works in small ensembles, full choirs, and soloists.
8. Spectacle- Colorful sets, costumes, dances and processions bring a sense of majesty and place. The productions are visually stimulating.
9. Comfort- The duration is just right and you don't have to worry about when to clap. The general atmosphere isn't intimidating.
10. Predictability- There is a brand the Revels organizations around the country have developed over the years. Customers know what to expect and that always takes the fear out of going to the theater. The overall feeling in the audience is one of family.
Artistic Director, Maureen Burford put it this way...
"One of the great joys of Revels is the collaborative process involved in creating our shows--which, though imbued with traditional material, are often new works. I choose a theme, a story, a place in the world to explore--but the team brings it to life as they share their particular gifts and passions.
This year, our world-class guest musicians and dancers are developing instrumental arrangements and choreography for the show. Our Associate Director Will Rowan has chosen the vocal music--with a focus on the northern Isles of Scotland. And award winning children's author Susan Cooper has adapted a new script from her children's book "Tam Lin." Vermont Puppeteer Barbara Paulson (of "No String Marionettes") helps us bring the story to life with her large scale creations, which we are excited to reveal in act two of the drama. No one of us could imagine the final result...and we know that we'll be sharing something that has never been seen before, and will never be seen quite this way again!"
Attending live performances takes thought and planning. Tickets and baby sitters and dinner reservations all have to be secured ahead of time. Parking can sometimes be a challenge. Audiences have to really want to get to the theater to share the theatrical experience with others and the result can be transcendent.
CALL FOR BACKSTAGE REVELERS from their website.
Become a Backstage Reveler
You don’t have to be onstage to be a part of Christmas Revels. There are lots of ways to help! To find out how, fill out this form or email email@example.com.
Check out the Revels North website for tickets
Here are their upcoming events.