About the Oberammergau Passion Play

Passion PlayA play of life and death, promised in a moment of mortal threat, and so began the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play in 1633. In the midst of the horror of the 30 years' war, the dreaded plague swept across Europe. High in the Bavarian Alps, the citizens of Oberammergau attempted to seal themselves off from the outside world. When a homesick young man sneaked into the village and brought the pestilence with him, 84 residents died within 3 weeks. In desperation, the town council made a solemn vow that if God would stop the plague, out of gratitude, they would present a play depicting the life and suffering of Christ for the duration of their existence. Miraculously, the plague took no more lives in the town. True to their word, the villagers performed their first play in 1634, and have continued to do so to this day.

PassionPlayThe first Passion Play performance was held over the graves of the Black Death victims. This location was used until 1820. Not until 1820 was a stage constructed at the site of the present-day Passion Play Theatre. In 1820, a reconstructions was carried out. The structure at this time consisted of six steel arch supports. By 1930, the new construction of the open-air stage was completed by Georg Johann Lang and Raimund Lang. The original seat consisting of simple rows of benches were replaced by theatre seating and now offered a seating capacity of 5,200. In 1999, 15 million dollars were spent on upgrades such as making the facility wheelchair accessible, as well as new fire prevention measures and stage techniques were modernized. The newly renovated theatre, with its 4,720 covered seats, now offers a world-wide audience maximum comfort and safety.

Passion PlayThe Passion Play is performed every 10 years in the city of Oberammergau, Germany. The play takes place out doors where the sky and mountains are the back drop. A wonderful spectacle of pageantry. World renown for the costumes and music presentation. Now, more than 2,000 citizens make up the actors, singers, instrumentalists and stage technicians that bring the play to life in approximately six hours of playing time. The year 2010 marks the 41st time the story will be presented in Oberammergau. The play comprises spoken dramatic text, musical and choral accompaniment and tableaux vivants. The tableaux vivants are scenes from the Old Testament depicted for the audience by motionless actors accompanied by verbal description. These scenes are the basis for the relationship between the Old and New Testament, of the play. They include a scene of the brothers selling Joseph into slavery in Egypt, and Moses raising up the bronze serpent in the wilderness. The remainder of the performance is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Christ: the trial, suffering and death of Jesus Christ.

There will not be another chance like this until 2020 so don't delay and call 1.866.475.7023 today to avoid disappointment.

Passion Play Times & Information

  • The Passion Play operates for 5 months from May through October.
  • Date of performances are every day except for Mondays and Wednesdays.
  • The play will start at 2.30 pm and end at 10:30 pm every day. It is only one play each day with an intermission of 3 hours for dinner. So part 1 will be from 2.30 pm to 5 pm and part 2 from 8 pm to 10.30 pm.
  • The play runs for approximately five or five and a half hours with an intermission of three hours. A meal is served during the intermission of the play. Audiences come from all over the world, often on packaged tours. We offer over 38 itineraries that travel to Oberammergau.

Key Dates:

  • 2006: The Local Authority will make first decisions as to production and organization
    Already decided:
    The producer: Christian Stückl
    The conductors: Markus Zwink and Michael Bocklet
    The designer: Stefan Hageneier
    First performance: 15th May, 2010
    Last performance: 3rd October, 2010
    Performance - Part 1 from 2.30 p.m. to 5.00 p.m.
    Performance - Part 2 from 8.00 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.

  • End of 2007: There will be more information about prices for tickets and processing
  • End of 2007: Estimated setting up the Office "Passion Play office"
  • Beginning of 2008: Start of sales of packages * Beginning of 2009: Start of sales of tickets without package
  • Ash Wednesday 2009: The "Hair Decree" - from this date on all the men in Oberammergau taking part in the play are requested to let the hair on their heads and faces grow
  • April 2009: Choosing the leading actors
  • May - September 2010: The 41st Passion Play takes place

All performances sold out in 2000.

Passion Play

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