The history of the Passion Play
A play of life and death, promised in a moment of mortal threat - so began the history of the Oberammergau Passion Play in 1633. In the middle of the Thirty Years War, after months of suffering and death from the plague, the Oberammergauers swore an oath that they would perform the "Play of the Suffering, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ" every ten years. At Pentecost 1634, they fulfilled their pledge for the first time on a stage they put up in the cemetery above the fresh graves of the plague victims. In the year 2020, the Community of Oberammergau will perform the Passion Play, they have preserved throughout the centuries with singular continuity, for the 42nd time.
Since 1634, the most famous Passion Play in the world has taken place in Oberammergau.
The tradition, maintained and experienced almost without interruption for over 380 years, of putting on the play about the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ every ten years, will be continued for the 42nd time in 2020 and is regarded as the most important passion play in the world. The village at the edge of the Bavarian Alps expects approximately 500,000 visitors for the passion play, over half of which will be international guests.
All actors of the world's largest amateur dramatic performance come from the village, since a special play law is in effect. All participants, from actors playing the big speaking parts such as Jesus, Mary or Judas, through members of the choir, orchestra members, firemen and ushers, must have been born in Oberammergau or lived there for at least 20 years.
Every one of the approx. 2400 actors is either born in Oberammergau or has lived in the village for at least 20 years.
21 principal parts (Jesus, Mary, John, Judas, Peter, Pontius Pilate, Caiaphas and others), 120 smaller and bigger speaking parts, solo singers, 100 male and female choristers, orchestra, apostles, priests and scribes, Roman soldiers and temple guards, people.
Time Schedule to 2020
In 2015 the Oberammergau Council appointed the production team of the 2020 Passion Play. Thereby the preparations for the next Passion Play will start. There have many organizational issues to be clarified in advance, such as the playing schedule, the admission prices and the promotion of the Passion Play. The exact schedule will be decided at the latest in 2017.
By Ash Wednesday 2019, all participants in the play let their hair grow - and men also their beards - in accordance with a long tradition, the "Beard and Hair Edict".
In spring 2019, the names of the actors will be announced. In addition to the major characters of Jesus, Mary, Peter, Judas, Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas, there are 120 larger and smaller speaking parts. Altogether, more than 2.000 Oberammergau villagers will participate in the 2020 Passion Play.
Rehearsals for the 42nd Passion Play will start in autumn 2019.
The first performance of the 2020 Passion Play will be on May 16th.
Oberammergau and its Surroundings
The Passion Play village of Oberammergau is situated in one of Bavaria's most beautiful areas, nestling in the wonderful landscape of the Ammergau Alps. Not only the beauty of the landscape but also cultural treasures await the visitor. King Ludwig II succumbed to the magic of this district and built his favourite palace Linderhof into the mystical seclusion of Graswang Valley. Oberammergau is known not only for its Passion Play that takes place every ten years but also especially for its wood carvings and the so-called Lüftlmalerei, the paintings that decorate many of the walls of the old houses. In the nearby areas you will find some of Bavaria's finest monasteries and churches. The Benedictine Ettal Monastery is a gem of Bavarian rococo, and wonderful frescos by the baroque painter Matthäus Günter adorn Oberammergau's Parish Church.
First performance on 16 May 2020
Start of each performance: 14:30, end: 22:30 (with a three-hour interval). From 17 August the performances start from 13:30, end 21:30.
102 performances from 16 May to 4 October 2020, five times a week. There will be no performances on Mondays and Wednesdays.
More than 450.000 visitors from all over the world are expected.
Promoter of the 2020 Passion Play is the community of Oberammergau.
Accommodation & Play Tickets
Arrangements are in various categories, ours include;
Category C Accommodation:
- includes Ticket Category 1 (best tickets).
- For Category C accommodation, you will stay in 3 Star hotels or 4 Star Pensions/guest houses.
The Passion Play Theatre
The stage was built in 1928, the auditorium in 1898. For the 2000 Passion Play, the entire Passion Play Theatre will undergo a complete restoration.
The Passion Play Theatre has got about 4,450 covered seats.
For the complete tour itinerary and prices click here