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 2020 marks the 42nd 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.

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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:

  • 2015: Oberammergau Council Chose the 2020 Production Team

    Already decided:
    The producer: Christian Stückl
    The conductors: Markus Zwink
    The designer: Stefan Hageneier
    Deputy director: Abdullah Kenan Karaca

    Exact Schedule will be decided in early 2017. Estimated:
    First performance: 15th May, 2020
    Last performance: 3rd October, 2020

    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.

  • Mid to End of 2017: There will be more information about prices for tickets and processing
  • Mid to End of 2017: Estimated setting up the Office "Passion Play office"
  • Beginning of 2018: Start of sales of packages
  • Beginning of 2019: Start of sales of tickets without packages
  • Ash Wednesday 2019: 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 according to the long tradition, the "Beard and Hair Edict."
  • Spring 2019: Name of actors will be announced (total of 127 speaking parts)
  • Fall 2019: Rehearsals begin for the Passion Play
  • May - September 2020: The 41st Passion Play takes place

All performances sold out in 2010.

About the Tickets

All seats offer a good view. The acoustics in the outdoor theatre are excellent.

Ticket Categories:

Categories for accommodations are chosen after a thorough inspection of all rooms. They are based solely on the degree of space & furnishings provided & not by the stars assigned to it by the German Hotel Classifications. In some locations rooms may be assigned in different categories.

HC 1 – Deluxe hotels with Category 1A Tickets

Deluxe hotels are spacious and nicely furnished. Ammenities include safe, minibar, tv & internet access.

HC 2 - Superior First Class 4+-star Hotel with Category 1A Tickets

Superior Hotels with cozy furnishings and spacious rooms. Each room has its own private bathroom and a corner seating area. They are also outfitted with a minibar or wide variety of drinks, color T.V., radio, direct-dial telephone, Internet access, hair dryer, toiletries, and bathrobes on request.

HC 3 - First Class 4-star Hotel with Category 1 Tickets

Middle Class Hotels with a private bathroom in each room. They are also outfitted with a minibar or wide variety of drinks, color T.V., radio, direct-dial telephone, hair dryer, and toiletries.

HC 4 - Tourist Class 3-star Hotel with Category 2 Tickets

Middle Class Hotels with a private bathroom in each room. They are also outfitted with a T.V.

Interesting Facts

In between each scene during the performance, there are “Living Tableaus,” where live actors come on with intricate sets of the Old Testament. Actors with smaller parts dress in greyish blue costumes and the 36 main actors where mostly white costumes so they are easily distinguished on stage. The actors who are tied to the crosses have to stay in that position for more than an hour.

Passion Play

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