“Traditionally, the Oberammergau Passion Play is one of the most important trademarks of the cultural destination of Germany”, explains Petra Hedorfer, chair of the German National Tourist Board (GNTB). “Around one million additional international overnight stays in the years of the Play are a clear proof of the international attraction of this event”. A high level of organisational professionalism and several years of forerun guarantee a smooth course. The village traditionally offers arrangements to manage the extraordinary number of visitors. These package-deals include a ticket as well as one or two overnight stays and dinner.
Tickets have sold very well so far, explains Gerhard M Griebler, Managing Director of Passionsspiele .By now, 65 percent of the 220,000 available contingents for touristic resellers have been contractually fixed”.
In total, Oberammergau expects 450,000 visitors at 103 playing dates. The Passion Play is actively advertised in 27 markets together with the German Tourism Board. “North America, Great Britain and Scandinavia continue to be the most important foreign markets. But we also try to develop new markets such as France, Poland and the Benelux states”.
As Petra Hedorfer points out, the Passion Play is uniquely connected to the culture of Bavaria and its well-preserved tradition. Ever since 1634, the world’s most successful amateur dramatic performance keeps finding new ways to tell the story of the last days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. The text versions are always a reflection the respective time period and its political circumstances. “The staging changes fundamentally every time”, says Christian Stückl, who will direct the Play for the fourth time in 2020. “Since the Passion Play takes place once every ten years, I keep having to write the text in a new way, tell the story in a new way. I’ll include things I learned from the previous Play”.
Check back next week for Part 3.