Die Passionsspiele Oberammergau 2022

Commissioned by

Bayerischer Rundfunk, arte

Editorial department BR

Sonja Scheider, Helge Freund

Written and directed by

Alexander Saran

Camera operators

Johannes Obermaier, Carmen Treichl


Florian Kohlert


Some vows are kept for centuries. In 1633, ravaged by the plague, the inhabitants of the Bavarian mountain village of Oberammergau made a pledge to God that they would perform a passion play if only they were spared from the Black Death. Today, the Oberammergau Passion Play is the most famous in the world – the world’s largest amateur theatre performance. Every 10 years, nearly 2000 Oberammergau citizens re-enact the last days of Christ for hundreds of thousands of spectators. In the years leading up to the performance, Oberammergau gets increasingly busy with preparations – the village lives for its play!

Head dramaturge and director Christian Stückl, who is the “big boss” for the fourth time, is contractually obligated to accommodate all Oberammergau citizens who sign up for the performance – be it as a Roman soldier in the eighth row on the back left or as an extra in the mass scenes in Jerusalem. More than 1000 people are on stage, sometimes at the same time.

 Stückl casts young people for his main roles. Religion is immaterial. He approached one of the main actors in a café because he noticed his voice. And so it happened that, in 2022, an Oberammergau resident of Muslim faith played Judas. “If anyone thinks I’m trying to stir things up – no, he’s just one of my best young actors!” the director says.

The rehearsals kick off with a trip to Israel. The actors prepare for their roles in the traditional places mentioned in the Bible. The stage and costume designs are created over a period of months, the choir and orchestra are set up, and the men have been growing their hair and beards for a year. Everything is ready for the premiere in May 2020…

Then Covid hits. Everything grinds to a halt amidst tears of sadness and disappointment.

However, the grand premiere rolls around at last. On May 14, 2022, after four years of intensive preparation and anxious anticipation, the Oberammergau Passion Play enters its 42nd round.

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