If you're looking for a real bucket-list experience to have next year, we've got just the thing. 2022 is your next chance to witness the legendary Oberammergau Passion Play, which, if you miss, you'll be waiting another decade to see.
That's why we decided to give you the opportunity to see it after an almighty mountain trek in the Bavarian Alps. That's right. As if the opportunity to see this once-in-a-decade Passion Play wasn't special enough, we went and made our adventure even better by incorporating part of the St James Way Pilgrimage.
If you're not familiar with the play, you may be wondering why it's so special. Let us fill you in and before you finish reading this blog post, you'll be just as excited to trek to the Passion Play as we are!
The Oberammergau Passion Play was born in 1633 after citizens of the charming Bavarian village of Oberammergau made a solemn vow to perform a play once every 10 years that depicted the story of Christ’s life, suffering, death and resurrection if their lives were spared from the deadly plague, and, after no further deaths, the first iteration took place just one year later.
Incredibly, the promise has been kept all these years and 2022 will mark the Passion Play’s 42nd performance since its debut in 1634. It truly is a transcendent experience and one that will stay with you long after you return home. Our amazing sister company, Andante Travels, spoke to actor and villager Frederik Mayet (pictured below), who will play the role of Jesus in the 2022 production about what the play's legacy means to him.
“I was in the play for the first time in the year 2000, when I played John the Apostle. I was invited by the director, Christian Stückl, to attend some castings and after turning up several times I was surprised – and more than happy – when he suggested that I played the role of John. Cast members show a real dedication to being part of the Passion Play. We start with the beard and hair-growing around one year ahead of the premiere. The first half of this year is spent rehearsing, while the other half is filled with performances. Almost half of our whole village is involved, and our aim is to bring a great Passion Play to the stage for our visitors.”
“It’s not often that you find such a famous and long-standing tradition in a small village, like Oberammergau – it truly is so special to be part of the play. I remember back in 1990, when I was 10-years-old, I sat in the audience and watched the Passion Play with my great-grandmother. For me, this is one of the best places to live.”
When asked if there's anything particular about the charming village he would recommend to unfamiliar visitors, Frederik added: "I would go to the Romanshöhe. That is a small restaurant on the hills of Oberammergau. You have to walk there for 35 minutes. But they have the Kaiserschmarrn (cut-up and sugared pancake with raisins) in town. That is typical dish in our region."
Meet Eva, Oberammergau's Mary in the 2022 Passion Play
Now that we're just a few months away from its launch, Andante Travels caught up with another one of the main cast members to find out how plans for the performance were impacted by the delays. Eva-Maria Reiser will play the coveted role of Mary in the 2022 play, the 42nd iteration, and she also played the role of Mary Magdalene for the last Passion Play in 2010.Read the interview with Eva
Trek to the Oberammergau Passion Play in 2022
Our extraordinary challenge starts in Munich and leads us alongside rivers, through rolling fields and forests on part of the Way of St James pilgrimage. Staying by night in biscuit-tin villages and tiny hamlets, we'll gain excellent insight into the local lifestyle. By day, we'll keep our eyes peeled for an array of wildlife, hike past extraordinary historical sites, like the 739 AD Benediktbeuern Abbey and marvel at unsurpassable natural scenery roaming alongside glacial lakes.
Then, we'll veer off the path of the pilgrimage and venture instead across a chain of mountain passes through the heart of the Bavarian Alps, all the way to our unforgettable finishing point of Oberammergau. Here, we'll enjoy a celebration like no other: a chance to experience the once-a-decade Oberammergau Passion Play. What's more, we have amazing seats for the performance, charming accommodation in the town of Oberammergau itself.
Limited places remain for this once-in-a-lifetime challenge and once they're gone, they're gone - there won't be another Passion Play for another ten years, so we won't be able to open another group. Therefore, unless you want to miss out on this extraordinary opportunity, please secure your place today.