Oberammergau Passion Play, Germany 2020

by Jennifer Merrick

Beginning Ash Wednesday 2019, barbers in the Bavarian hamlet of Oberammergau in southern Germany will have considerably more leisure time than usual as half the village’s population will not be cutting their hair until October, 2020. Why? Because the inhabitants will be actors in the 42nd Oberammergau Passion Play.

This momentous event is the longest continuing theatre tradition in the world, going back to the year 1633, when villagers pledged to perform the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ every 10 years in return for divine protection from the plague. Today, over 450,000 visitors from around the world are expected to witness this spectacle, which is staged exclusively by the townsfolk.

“If you would like to be part of it, you have to be born here or live here for at least 20 years,” says Christian Stückl, the play’s director. Stückl, who has been directing the Passion Play since 1990, says that he is “always looking around the village with casting eyes,” scouting Oberammergauers who might fit the role of a Roman soldier, priest or even Jesus himself.

It promises to be a stellar production with 102 performances scheduled at the Oberammergau Passion Play Theatre. For more information, visit