What to expect from the Oberammergau Passion Play

Author: Colleen Doyle

Where is this place, you may ask?

This is a small Bavarian village in Germany which could be unknown to most, apart from the famous Passion Play which has been performed regularly for 380 years. The other claim to fame for Oberammergau is wood carving. Overshadowed by majestic mountains, it is also within easy reach of the Romantic Road and Neuschwanstein Castle which featured in the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The origin of the Oberammergau Passion Play:

When the bubonic plague was marching through Europe in 1634, decimating villages and towns, the people of Oberammergau made a vow that if God spared them, they would perform a passion play every decade. After this vow was made, no more people contracted the plague and those ill, recovered. This play is now performed in years ending with zero and will be performed again in 2020.


Only people born in the village or who have lived there for many years are permitted to perform in the passion play. In 2010 over 50% of the villagers, old and young were acting, singing, playing instruments or involved in the technical side of things. An outdoor soundshell is constructed to house the production and the hundreds of people attending, performed over an afternoon and evening for 5 months of the zero dated year. It involves over 2,000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, all residents of the village.

The production:

Every time the Oberammergau passion play is performed there is a total revamp of the whole production. Costumes are different each time, new music and choral items are created, lighting and sound right up to the minute in technical excellence, but still retaining the essence of the age old story. People from all over the world attend, and when I was there in 2010, I had the quirky experience of some of the main characters serving in my Oberammergau hotel.

An opportunity:

I will be hosting a tour here in August-September 2020, with one of Innovative Travel's initiatives, the Travel Companions Club.   This is a perfect solution for people wanting to travel to amazing destinations with like minded people, usually in the mature age group. The tour begins in Budapest, Hungary with a river cruise on the Danube through Bratislava to Vienna, then on to Melk and disembarking in Passau, Germany which will be our base for the Oberammergau Passion Play. The tour finishes in Munich after 10 days/11 nights of unbelievable beauty, history, surprises, luxury cruising, culminating with the world famous Passion Play.

Innovative Travel Companions Club:

More details of this amazing 'once in a lifetime' tour can be found under the Travel Companions Club tab on the Innovative Travel web page. Limited space is still available.

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