Press release for the Premiere of the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play

The Last Supper (Photo: Sebastian Schulte)

After two years of waiting and six months of intensive rehearsals, the time has finally come and the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play is set to premiere on 14th May 2022.

“Now, after a two-year break, after the cancellation of the Passion Play in 2020, we are facing the premiere of the 2022 Plays. We have been rehearsing for months, we have finished the stage design and the costumes, and yet, just a few weeks ago, many could not believe that the Passion Play would premiere. Every day we tested ourselves for COVID-19 before the rehearsals. At first we only rehearsed in small groups, actors left and new ones joined and constantly we kept watching the infection numbers that just didn't want to go down. And now? Suddenly everyone is gripped by the fever for the Passion Play. Suddenly everyone is acting in concert. Nothing this year is the same as before: about 300 performers left. They couldn't take another summer off for the Play. However, the remaining 1.400 performers and around 400 children are all the more motivated. We don't really know today how many people will visit us this year, we don't know if the terrible war in Ukraine will escalate, we don't know what COVID will do, if there will be another wave, but we have endless desire to bring our Passion Play to the stage and we are highly motivated,” explains Christian Stückl, director of the Passion Play.

“I am delighted that the Passion Play can take place as planned after this long period of cultural lockdown and that we, as one of the first major international events, can welcome many guests from all over the world. Despite difficult circumstances during the preparation phase, we have succeeded in realising this major project,” says Andreas Rödl, First Mayor of the municipality of Oberammergau.

Walter Rutz, the manager of the Eigenbetrieb Kultur and managing director of Passionsspiele Oberammergau Vertriebs GmbH & Co., is relieved: “We have sold around three quarters of our 450,000 tickets. The interest in the German market is clearly perceptible, and our guests are happy that the time has finally come and they can visit the Passion Play.” Demand from overseas also continues unabated. The main markets include the US, which accounts for around a third of the tickets currently sold, as well as Great Britain and Scandinavia. A strict COVID-protection concept has made the rehearsals possible with the 1,800 participants on stage. “Before each rehearsal, all participants have to take a Covid 19 rapid antigen test”, Rutz explains. “With the help of the Bayerische Rote Kreuz and our staff, we could take this additional logistical hurdle.”

For the first time, two performances of the Oberammergau Passion Play will be held exclusively for the youth and young adults on 7th and 8th May 2022. The Youth Days aim to gather a total of 8,000 young people between the ages of 16 and 28 in Oberammergau on these two days and enable them to attend the Passion Play at reduced rates. The background of the Passion Play will be explained through an introduction into the play and conversations with participants. Play director Christian Stückl deliberately wants to address all denominations and nationalities with this project and thus promote intercultural and interreligious exchange. The Youth Days are supported within the framework of the “Regional Culture” funding programme of the Bavarian State Ministry of Finance and Home Affairs.