Passion Play History
Since the early 1800’s residents of the tiny hamlet of Sordevolo in northwest Italy’s Biella province - with a population around 1,200 - have joined together to stage their own grand production of the Passion of Christ. Similar to Oberammergau in Germany, this moving production called “La Passione” or the Passion Play of Sordevolo, represents the final days of Christ on earth and is performed every five years. The next events scheduled are for June-September 2015. According to local lore, villagers made a vow in 1634 to perform a passion play here in perpetuity because their town was spared the ravages of the plague.
Every five years, the entire town unites to bring this impactful production to life. Some folks make the costumes. Others design the stage and set. Roughly 400 residents perform, spending the better part of a year rehearsing their roles. The performance takes place in an outdoor amphitheater with seating for 2,500. The set is constructed to depict a corner of Jerusalem, dating back to 33 A.D, featuring Herod’s Palace, Synedrium, Pontius Pilate’s Praetorium, the Garden of Gethsemane, the cenacle, and Calvary. Here, locals participate in a two and a half-hour grand production performed on weekends from June through September, every five years. It is easy to forget that the children and adults performing are all amateurs, not professional actors. Roman soldiers ride real horses, the sound is clear and beautiful, and the actors offer moving performances.
This Passion Play production pays close attention to every detail and encompasses the Passion of the Christ from the moment Jesus enters Jerusalem to the Resurrection. It is a major production by local residents who live normal lives, but every fifth year, these townspeople transform themselves and the town itself for this reenactment. Many of the acting roles are passed along from generation to generation. Since earliest records, the community has united every five years to perform this moving and spiritually enriching play.
This experience is further enhanced by its location in Italy, offering the opportunity for individual travelers or religious groups to combine their time in Sordevolo with visits to other cities and discover the Piedmont region
For more information or reservations contact Central Holidays at 800-539-7098 or visit www.passiontours.net