More than 200 performers will take to an outdoor stage that’s more than six football fields wide this month for the 2014 Badlands Passion Play.
Now in its 20th season, the enormous production that re-enacts the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ will run from July 11 to 27 in Drumheller.
The play that includes many Red Deer-area actors and technicians — including Aaron Krogman in the role of Jesus and Adrian Young as production director — has been seen by more than a quarter-million people over the years.
This makes it one of Canada’s most popular theatrical events.
The re-enaction of “the greatest story ever told” won a 2013 ALTO Award from Alberta Tourism, and is on the American Bus Association’s Top 100 Events in North America for 2014.
As these accolades indicate, the passion play draws a real mix of people — those who are religious, as well as those who don’t identify as religious but come to appreciate the grandeur and beauty of the production, said production executive director Vance Neudorf.
Audiences are there “to have an unparalleled cultural experience and be moved by the story, which is, I think, why we were given the ALTO honour, and why the audience continues to grow as it does,” Neudorf added.
This year’s passion play will feature an updated script, score and staging — all orchestrated by Alberta musicians, actors and artists.
More than 500 volunteers contribute to the production every year, making it the largest volunteer-driven event in Alberta and one of the biggest in Canada, with more than 45,000 volunteer hours annually.
For the first time, the play’s run is being extended to a third weekend. There are some 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. performances, with tickets ranging from $43 to $63 for adults.
For more information, visit www.canadianpassionplay.com or call 1-888-823-2001.