900x500 CEO Blog 072618

Our CEO on the Go Visits Oberammergau

by Kristen Gilbert

August 15, 2018

3 minute read

Every ten years since 1634, the tiny Bavarian hamlet of Oberammergau takes the world's center stage to perform its famous Passion Play, an epic event that traces the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus with a feast of music and drama. This month's installment of our CEO on the Go series finds us talking with our CEO, Dan Sullivan Jr., about his experience at Oberammergau in 2010.

Why is Oberammergau and its Passion Play so special?

Oberammergau tourism is always a fantastic experience which is why we go there regularly on several of our tours. The village is charming and you can go there for the food and quaint little shops that really capture the culture of Germany and Bavaria. The population is only around 3,000 people or less and in so many ways, it seems like it hasn't changed in centuries.

When it's time for the Passion Play, the entire town gets involved. Men and women participate in putting on this huge event that draws spectators from all around the world to come and see. They've been putting this play on since 1634 as a promise to God that if He spared the town from the plague that they would perform the play every ten years. Not a single townsperson fell to the plague after their promise and what resulted was the epic, historical event that people from all over the world come to experience.

It's special not only because of its incredible run, but because only the residents of the town can participate and they really immerse themselves into putting on an incredibly moving and dramatic production that rivals anything you would see on any other stage.

Is the show in German?

It is and I'll tell you this; I've seen the show twice now, and the dramatization transcends language barriers. It's a production on a grand scale. If there was ever a show in Europe that you just have to see, this is the one. The play takes place on an stage that was built just for this purpose and seeing it performed is unlike anything else I have ever experienced. It's captivating. The talent, the music, the costumes and the way the town transforms and takes such pride and responsibility in it - it's a must-see.

How is Collette preparing for 2020?

This year Oberammergau is expecting 500,000 spectators to view 102 performances from May to October. We have 7 different itineraries that include tickets to the performance and expect to have more than 10,000 people attending with us in 2020. Even though it's still a couple of years away, our guests are already rushing to claim their spot on these tours since tickets to the play are limited. Excitement here at Collette is building as we prepare for the event of the decade - literally.

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