This year is your next chance to experience the once-per-decade Passion Play in the Bavarian town of Oberammergau. As you may already know, we are offering a selection of tours that include tickets to watch the spectacle, but there are a few unanswered questions of yours that we wanted to address ahead of the first performance. So, if there's something you want to ask about the Oberammergau Passion Play, please read on as we may have it covered!
The Oberammergau Passion Play: Your Top Questions, Answered
15 January 2020
What you need to know
Admittance to the theatre
Before entering the Oberammergau Passion Play theatre, there will be a few checks. It is wise to anticipate a possible bag and body check upon arrival, as is standard at many venues nowadays.
Admittance to the theatre is only granted upon the possession of a ticket valid for that performance day, and sometimes staff might check whether your name matches that written on the back of your ticket. In this event, it is advised to carry some identification with you upon entering the theatre.
Admission is granted around half an hour before the play begins, so please arrive to the theatre on time as queues can be long. The Oberammergau team recommend at least one hour to cover identity and security checks.
In the theatre
Dress Code: The event takes place in an open-air theatre although a slight roof covers the seats, so it is advised to bring layers as it can get chilly in the evening. Blankets will always be provided for you on site.
Objects not permitted in the theatre: Food or drinks that exceed 0.5 litres, glassware for eating and drinking out of, bags larger than A4 size, walking sticks and full-sized umbrellas. There is a baggage drop-off point on site, which can be used if you have any of these items.
Photography during the event: Copyright prohibits any filming or photography during the performance, and any recording or camera equipment must be checked in at the baggage drop-off point.
Food and drink: On our tours, full meals are provided during the interval, but snacks and beverages are also available for purchase at the play.
The play itself
The months it takes place: The Passion Play is held between 16th May and 4th October, with a total of 103 performances taking place.
The Passion Play schedule: Performances take place every day of the week apart from on Mondays and Wednesdays.
The performance's language: The Passion Play will be performed exclusively in German, but a playbook available in various languages will be available for purchase on the day of your performance.
The play's history: The 2020 Passion Play will be its 42nd performance and it first began back in the year of 1633. The Plague had descended upon the residents of the small village of Oberammergau, and its citizens made a solemn vow that if their lives were spared, they would perform a play that depicted the story of Christ's life, suffering and resurrection in full once every ten years. Amazingly, there were no further deaths as a result of the Plague, so – in 1634 – the Passion Play officially began.
The play's actors: To be accepted as a performer in the Passion Play, you must either have been born in the village of Oberammergau, married to a local for 10 or more years, or lived there personally for 20 years. No exceptions to these rules are made. Over 2,000 locals take part every 10 years, but there are only around 124 speaking roles up for grabs.