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Oberammergau, a stunning town surrounded by majestic mountains and picturesque meadows is located in Bavaria, Germany, approximately 90 kilometers from Munich. The small town on the Ammer River is known for its woodcarvers and woodcarvings, for its NATO School, and across the world for its 380-year tradition of mounting Passion Plays. The Oberammergau Passion Play was first performed in 1634. It resulted from a vow made by the inhabitants of the village that if God spared them from the effects of the bubonic plague that was then sweeping the region they would perform a Passion Play every ten years. The play is now performed in years ending with a zero, as well as in 1934 which was the 300th anniversary and 1984 which was the 350th anniversary (though the 1940 performance was cancelled due to the onset of the Second World War in 1939). It involves over 2000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, all residents of the village. Read more about Oberammergau on our blog here.
Interesting Facts About the Oberammergau Passion Play:
» Only people born in Oberammergau or who have lived there for at least 20 years are allowed to take part in the play.
» Over 2,000 citizens are involved in the Passion Play (singers, actors, musicians and technical support).
» There are 124 speaking roles, a 65-member orchestra, 48 person chorus and hundreds of people involved in the back-end including stagehands, seamstresses, firemen, auditorium attendants and more.
» Men grow their hair and beards to make them look authentic to the time. Costumes are hand made.
» The play is performed in German, but it doesn’t seem to stop people from all over the world, including those that are not of religious backgrounds that are intrigued by the way the town comes together to perform this play. It is anticipated that over 480,000 will attend in 2020.
» There is seating for 4500 spectators per show.
» Each performance lasts approximately 5 hours with an intermission of three hours in the middle.