Press release on the last performance of the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play

110 performances will have been held successfully on the stage come October 2nd 2022. Play Director Christian Stückl, Mayor Andreas Rödl, Walter Rutz, Managing Director of Eigenbetrieb Oberammergau Kultur and CEO of Passionsspiele Oberammergau Vertriebs GmbH & Co. KG, as well as the Musical Director Markus Zwink strike a positive balance from the 42nd Passion Play Oberammergau.

Six performances, the so called “Probespiele” (final rehearsals), two of which were exclusively for teenagers and young adults aged 16 to 28, 104 regular performances, two of which are additional plays. That is how the total 110 held performances of the 42nd Passion Play Oberammergau are made up.

“For the community, only a positive conclusion can be drawn. The residents, economy, catering-services and retail have all benefited from the Passion Play and the rather very high degree of capacity. This was important for many businesses, especially after the dire years under Covid-19. Just as lucky was the postponement to the year 2022. Thinking about the upcoming inflation and it’s repercussions, we have hit upon exactly the right moment. It was also crucial that both the safety and hygiene concept worked greatly and no performance had to be canceled or aborted.”, concludes Mayor Andreas Rödl the Passion Play so far.

Around 412,000 tickets were sold which amounts to a degree of capacity of 91%. “I am just glad that we were able to bring the Passion Play on and across the stage so successfully despite the difficult times.”, says Walter Rutz, Managing Director of Eigenbetrieb Oberammergau Kultur and CEO of Passionsspiele Oberammergau Vertriebs GmbH & Co. KG. Around 30% of the guests came from abroad, mainly from the US and other English-speaking countries, such as Great Britain, Canada, Australia and South Africa. There were also guests from Scandinavia, Spain, China, Japan, the Philippines or Singapore. 70% of the guests hailed from German-speaking countries. For the originally planned Passion Play 2020, 50% of the guests were expected from abroad and the other 50% from German-speaking countries. “Due to the pandemic and the postponement, the guest structure has shifted by 20% from international foreign-speaking guests to German-speaking visitors from the D-A-CH region.”, explains Walter Rutz.

The guest’s feedback as well satisfies the responsible people. “We managed to raise the quality standard compared to 2010. We have attained a customer satisfaction of 86% in the B2C area. The quote of complaints was under 1%”, states the Managing Director with glee.

The Youth Days, that were held for the first time this year, on May 7th and 8th 2022 have been a great success. According to Rutz the degree of capacity reached 75% which corresponds to about 6,500 sold tickets. On two days, teenagers and young adults had the opportunity to experience a “Probespiel”, a final rehearsal, for a greatly reduced fee. The accompanying programme was also received with excitement by the guests. Besides an introduction to the Play by Christian Stückl and discussion rounds with the director and actors after the performance, there was also a party.

The number of all people working on the production was 1769, which is less than in 2020. 647 women and 702 men were involved in the Passion Play, as well as 420 children (197 girls and 223 boys).
"We can be totally satisfied, there has been a great inner cohesion, also during the rehearsals. We lost almost 500 adults from 2020 in the number of participants, some didn't want to take part anymore, some couldn't play because they couldn't take such a long time off again. For me it was fascinating, we actually shrunk healthily. It was good that there were fewer people. By having fewer people on stage for the folk scenes, such as the outrage, you get to know the performers better, you are closer to the people," says Play Director Christian Stückl.

Musical Director Markus Zwink is delighted by the continuous seriousness and joy of playing that his orchestra and choir members have displayed. “The intensity of their singing and playing music has never faded. This intensity has also spilled over into our shared time backstage and could really be felt after each performance. The team spirit is grandiose and in all likeliness also the sure-fire reason for the constant joy whilst singing and playing music on the stage and in the orchestral pit."

"The interplay between the choir and the play scenes worked much better, also because of the omission of the prologue. I also think that there was an intense cohesion in the dressing rooms, of course there were also arguments, but it actually went well everywhere. I think, for example, that I have never had such a good disciples’ dressing room as this time. Cohesion has also grown through Covid," Stückl adds.

The director sums up his work on the content: "I think that theologically we were almost at our best. It was the first time we really succeeded in getting together with the Jewish organisations. We worked with a team in America of five theologians and rabbis. The team was here on site, the American Jewish Committee (AJC) brought students to Oberammergau, the Ernst Ludwig Ehrlich Institute was also here with students and we discussed a lot. I was surprised to receive the Isaiah Award from the strictest organisation, the AJC in New York. A real award for the work against anti-Semitism.

I believe we are never at an end. We have to keep working to get a normal relationship with each other."

“For the future we can only wish for the next Passion Play to once again be organized and held ‘frictionless’, the crises to end and peace to return .”, elaborates Rödl. The next Passion Play is planned to take place in the year 2030.

Play Director Christian Stückl (Photo: Sebastian Schulte)

Managing Director and CEO of Passionsspiele Oberammergau Vertriebs GmbH und Co KG Walter Rutz (Photo: Sebastian Schulte)

Musical Director Markus Zwink (Photo: Sebastian Schulte)