History of the Passion Play

In 1632 the pestilence, a plague, had infested Oberammergau and by 1633 nearly every family had come to experience death. People, brought down with the pestilence, vowed to perform every ten years at the towns cemetery, a Passion play depiction the suffering and dying of Christ if there would be no more deaths by the pestilence.

© Passionsspiele Oberammergau

On Pentecost 1634 the population of Oberammergau performed for the first time the 'Play of suffering, dying and revival of our lord Jesus Christ : on a stage which has been built at the pestilence cemetery, over the graves of those who had dies of the plague.
The Context originated from two other plays, a Passion Play from the second half of the 15th century and a Christian Reformation 'Tragedy by the Master Singer Sebastian Wild of Augsburg.
In the 5th year, in 1674, the context has been upgraded with the use of scenes of the Passion Play of Weilheim and in the 6th year, in 1680, the community decided that, after that Staging of the Play, the performances should take place every ten years thereafter.
In the 18th century the ideas of the rationalism found the way in the story of Passion Play. The Benedictine Ferdinand Rosner of Ettal turned the Play to a 'passio nova and makes use of all the skills of the Baroque Theatre.
In the 32nd year of the Play the architect Raimund Lang replaced the historic stage with a new, monumental and ascetically pleasing stage and at the same time enlarging the audience hall up to 5,200 seats, whilst his brother Georg produced the first modern performance of the Play.
In 1990 there was surprise when the youngest ever Director was elected - the 27 years old sculptor Christian Stückl. Furthemore for the first time married and older women could perform the Play - a right secured after the woman of Oberammergau appealed to the highest regional court.