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Festivals

Current & Future

  • Image For Event Coming Soon Page-to-Stage New Play Festival
    August 30-September 1, 2014

    The annual Page-to-Stage New Play Festival, highlighting the work of dozens of local theater companies through a series of open rehearsals and readings of new works, is dedicated to the works in 2015's Women's Voices Theater Festival.

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    You're Home for the Holidays
    November & December 2014
    Whether you're a Washingtonian or visiting from far away, you'll feel at home with these performances full of holiday cheer!

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    Iberian Suite: arts remix across continents
    March 2-24, 2015
    Highlighting the cultures of Portugal and Spain and the impact they have had around the world, as well as the vast influence this region has embraced from other cultures.

  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 13-19, 2015
    Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.

  • Photo of Mary Lou Williams

    Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival
    May 15 & 16, 2015
    The 18th annual Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival features today's top jazz artists over three nights. The Washington Post says the festival "speaks volumes about the contributions women have made to jazz."

Past

  • Image For Event Coming Soon

    Voices of Our Nation: Celebrating the Choral Tradition
    June 9-14, 2014
    The Kennedy Center presents a free weeklong initiative celebrating the rich diversity of choral artistry and featuring more than 50 choruses from across the nation.

  • Photo of Mary Lou Williams

    Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival
    May 23 & 24, 2014
    Celebrate the life, legacy, and career of legendary pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams with the Kennedy Center's 19th annual Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival.

  • New Moves: symphony + dance

    New Moves: symphony + dance
    May 7-17, 2014
    Across two spectacular weeks in May, the National Symphony Orchestra celebrates the glorious marriage of American music and dance in New Moves: symphony + dance.

  • Blue Note at 75

    Blue Note at 75
    May 3-11, 2014
    Seventy-five years in the making, Blue Note Records celebrates its 'Diamond Anniversary' by featuring incredible jazz music, lectures from legendary performers, and art exhibits at the Kennedy Center, on the Millennium Stage, and all around town.

  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 14-20, 2014
    Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.

  • Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide. One Mic

    One Mic: Hip-Hop Culture Worldwide
    March 25-April 13, 2014
    The Kennedy Center, in collaboration with Hi-ARTS, the producers of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, presents a festival celebrating this uniquely American art form.

  • World Stages

    World Stages: International Theater Festival 2014
    March 10-30, 2014
    The Kennedy Center highlights various traditions of theatrical expression with works from across the world. From puppetry to innovative perspectives on old classics, the festival offers an array of theatrical works and complementary programming.

  • snowy picture of the Kennedy Center

    You're Home for the Holidays
    November & December 2013
    Whether you're a Washingtonian or visiting from far away, you'll feel at home with these performances full of holiday cheer!

  • Image For Event Coming Soon

    American Voices
    November 22-24, 2013
    Curated by world-renowned American opera singer Renée Fleming, the festival of master sessions, concerts, and seminars celebrates the rich diversity of American vocal performance with stars of classical, country, gospel, jazz, musical theater, and pop.

  • Photo of Mary Lou Williams

    Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival
    May 16–18, 2013
    The 18th annual Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival features today's top jazz artists over three nights. The Washington Post says the festival "speaks volumes about the contributions women have made to jazz."

  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 15-21, 2013
    Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.

  • Nordic Cool 2013

    Nordic Cool 2013
    February 19 – March 17, 2013
    International festival of theater, dance, music, visual arts, literature, design, and film to highlight the diverse cultures of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden as well as Territories of Greenland, the Faroe and Åland Islands.

  • Holiday 2012

    You're Home for the Holidays
    November & December 2012
    Whether you're a Washingtonian or visiting from far away, you'll feel at home with these performances full of holiday cheer!

  • Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America

    Look Both Ways: Street Arts Across America
    May 6–12, 2012
    Part of the Kennedy Center's new Rubenstein Arts Access program, Look Both Ways supports the timeless tradition of street art, shedding light on artists and companies who are producing extraordinary work in non-traditional spaces, with free performances at the Center and throughout the city.

  • The Music of Budapest, Prague, and Vienna

    The Music of Budapest, Prague, and Vienna
    February 25 – March 29, 2012
    The Kennedy Center highlights the rich musical heritage of three European cities whose contributions to the arts world have been appreciated for centuries.

  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 16–21, 2012
    Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.

  • the kennedy center building

    Swing, Swing, Swing
    November 11–26, 2011
    The Kennedy Center highlights Swing—the lilting, rhythmic beat that drives jazz still today, nearly 90 years after its emergence during the roaring stride jazz period of the 20s—with performances including a star-studded tribute to the late Dr. Billy Taylor and 16 days of free swing dancing in the KC Dance Hall. Explore Swing and how it is still alive today in dance halls, clubs and movies.

  • the kennedy center building

    CHINA: The Art of a Nation
    September–October 2011
    In cooperation with the Ministry of Culture of the People's Republic of China, the Kennedy Center revisits the flourishing arts of one of the 21st century's world powers with nearly 300 artists spanning all genres of the performing arts.

  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 19–23, 2011
    Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.

  • maximum India

    maximum India
    March 1-20, 2011
    The Kennedy Center presents maximum India, an unprecedented celebration of Indian arts and culture that includes events and performances in music, dance, theater, film, and literature as well as exhibitions featuring art installations, cuisine, and more.

  • The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration

    The Presidency of John F. Kennedy: A 50th Anniversary Celebration
    January 18 - February 6, 2011
    January 20, 2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy. As a fitting commemoration for the president who led the United States into the modern era of global participation, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosts a series of performances and events.

  • On The Fringe: Eye on Edinburgh

    On The Fringe: Eye on Edinburgh
    October 28 - November 13, 2010
    The Edinburgh Fringe Festival is a crucible for the creation of new and experimental work, a place where talent is often unveiled and artists can experiment, challenge ideas, and work freely. On The Fringe: Eye on Edinburgh aims to bring the excitement, energy, and community of artistic entrepreneurship that exists in Edinburgh each summer to the Kennedy Center. These performances may be considered on the fringe today but they will redefine the mainstream of tomorrow.

  • Celebrate Mexico 2010

    Celebrate Mexico 2010
    September 11 – October 1, 2010
    The Kennedy Center commemorates Mexico's 200 years of Independence (1810) from the Spanish Crown, and 100 years since the 1910 Revolution with Celebrate Mexico 2010, featuring both ticketed and free performances and exhibitions that cover the vast breadth of Mexico's contributions to the arts world, including pre-Hispanic, Spanish, modern, and contemporary Mexican art.

  • 26th Annual Open House Arts Festival
    September 11, 2010
    The Kennedy Center Open House Arts Festival kicks off the Center's three-week-long Celebrate Mexico 2010 with a free day of fun for everyone in the family.

  • Multicultural Children's Book Festival

    Multicultural Children's Book Festival
    September 11, 2010
    Books come to life in this annual event featuring readings, book signings, and other activities with special guests. Books are available for purchase.

  • VSA arts Festival

    2010 International VSA Festival
    June 6 - 12, 2010
    VSA brings together artists, educators, researchers, and policy makers with disabilities from around the world for a multicultural celebration of the arts and arts education. The citywide 2010 International VSA Festival features visual, performing, literary, and media artists, as well as a guest list that includes more than 2,000 participants from all corners of the globe.

  • Joyful Sounds: Gospel Across America Hands

    Joyful Sounds: Gospel Across America
    April 18 - 25, 2010
    An in-depth look at gospel music with a mixture of free and ticketed events featuring Richard Smallwood, Shirley Caesar, Take 6, Kirk Franklin, Marietta Simpson, Mavis Staples, and others.

  • The Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 14 - 18, 2010
    Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.

  • 25th Annual Open House Arts Festival
    September 12, 2009
    The Kennedy Center Open House Arts Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary with a free day of fun for everyone in the family; this year the theme is Stage and Street Spectacular.

  • Multicultural Children's Book Festival

    Multicultural Children's Book Festival
    September 12, 2009
    Books come to life in this annual event featuring readings, book signings, and other activities with special guests. Books are available for purchase.

  • Lera Auerbach

    CrossCurrents: Contemporary Music Week
    May 1 - 10, 2009
    Curated by composer and conductor Oliver Knussen and Joseph Kalichstein, Kennedy Center Artistic Director for Fortas Chamber Music Concerts, CrossCurrents presents 17 orchestral, chamber orchestra, and chamber music events celebrating 15 of today's finest living composers.

  • American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 14 - 18, 2009
    Through state, regional, and national festivals, KCACTF participants celebrate the creative process, see one another's work, and share experiences and insights within the community of theater artists.

  • Arabesque Festival

    ARABESQUE: Arts of the Arab World
    February 23 - March 15, 2009
    The Kennedy Center presents three weeks of theater, dance, music, design, fashion and food imported from 22 Arab countries.

  • Multicultural Children's Book Festival

    Multicultural Children's Book Festival
    November 1, 2008
    Books come to life in this afternoon-long series of readings, book signings and other activities with special guests.

  • text image of prelude festival

    The Seventh Annual Prelude
    August 30 - October 5 2008
    Our 7th annual pre-season Prelude celebration - this year showcasing outstanding performing arts from all 50 states!

  • 24th Annual Open House Arts Festival
    September 13 2008
    The Kennedy Center is kicking off its 37th birthday with a free day of fun for everyone in the family celebrating American innovators and artists carrying on and developing traditions.

  • Cappella Festival

    A Cappella: Singing Solo
    May & June 2008
    The Kennedy Center celebrates the power of the human voice with performances by artists from all around the world, including many free concerts on the Millennium Stage.

  • American College Theater Festival

    Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival
    April 14 - 20, 2008
    Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center's founding chairman, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) is a national theater program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide which has served as a catalyst in improving the quality of college theater in the United States.

  • Japan Festival Logo

    JAPAN! culture + hyperculture
    February 2008
    Experience the richness and diversity of the arts of Japan! Over 2 weeks, more than 450 artists will be featured in nearly 50 performances of music, dance, and theater, plus many exhibits, lectures, and free events.

  • Book Festival

    Multicultural Children's Book Festival
    November 3, 2007
    Books come to life in this afternoon-long series of readings, book signings and other activities with special guest stars.

  • text image of prelude festival

    The Sixth Annual Prelude
    September 2007
    The sixth annual festival is a spectacular pre-season celebration of the best performing arts from Washington and the world.

  • 23nd Annual Open House Arts Festival
    September 8 2007
    This annual, daylong indoor and outdoor event celebrates the Kennedy Center's birthday with more than 30 free performances of music, dance, and theater, plus many other events and activities for the whole family.

  • photo for women in Jazz Festival

    12th Annual Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival
    May 10-12, 2007
    Lynn Arriale, Hiromi, Stephanie Jordan, Karen Briggs, and many others perform at the festival, featuring ticketed concerts and free events.

  • Shakespeare image

    Shakespeare in Washington
    January - June 2007
    More than 70 arts organizations from Washington and the world celebrate the Bard's life and work through performances, films, exhibits, and more at the Kennedy Center and other D.C. venues.

  • Photo: Dora the Explorer ®

    The Kennedy Center's 11th Annual Multicultural Children's Book Festival
    November 4, 2006
    Books come to life in this afternoon-long series of readings, book signings, and other activities featuring many special guests, including celebrity authors, illustrators, and performers.

  • cherry blossom

    Arts of Japan Celebration
    March 25-April 9, 2006
    The Kennedy Center commemorates its longtime relationship with Japan through performances by Japanese artists during D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival.

  • Country: A Celebration of America's Music
    March 20–April 9
    Presented in partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame.

  • Festival of China

    Festival of China
    October 2005
    The single largest celebration of Chinese performing arts in American history. A four-week showcase of China's best and brightest musicians, dancers, puppeteers, actors, directors, choreographers, acrobats, and more.

  • Masters of African American Choreography

    Masters of African American Choreography
    April 21-26, 2005
    The Kennedy Center presents an unprecedented exploration of African American choreographers' contributions to the world of modern dance in six programs shared by multiple companies.

  • A New America: The 1940s and the Arts

    A New America: The 1940s and the Arts
    The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation Series for Artistic Excellence
    January-June 2005
    The Kennedy Center embarks upon the largest festival in its history with an in-depth look at one of our nation's most artistically prolific and significant decades.

  • AmericArtes

    AmericArtes: Espíritu de Puerto Rico
    September 7-26, 2004
    The fourth exciting year of this Kennedy Center festival celebrates the vibrant spirit of la Isla del Encanto—the enchanted island—with premier Puerto Rican music, dance, theater, literature, and visual arts.

  • Tennessee Williams Festival

    Tennessee Williams Explored
    April-August 2004
    The Kennedy Center honors one of America's greatest playwrights with brand-new productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Glass Menagerie, and more.

  • Festival of France

    Festival of France
    January-April 2004
    Featuring Opéra Comique, Théâtre National de Chaillot, Théâtre de l'Atelier, and Les Arts Florissants.

  • Tchaikovsky Festival

    Tchaikovsky Festival
    December 2003
    The Kirov Ballet, the Kirov Opera with Valery Gergiev, Yo-Yo Ma, Yefim Bronfman, and many more celebrate this revered Russian composer.

  • [Soundtracks: Music and Film.]

    Soundtracks: Music and Film
    January 2003
    Along with the National Symphony Orchestra, festival co-directors Leonard Slatkin and John Williams bring the music of the movies to the Concert Hall.

  • [Soundtracks: Music and Film.]

    Sondheim Celebration
    May-August 2002
    The Kennedy Center hosted an unprecedented four-month festival that looked into the mind of a modern genius by exploring the works of Stephen Sondheim.