The Esparreguera and Olesa de Montserrat Passion Plays

A passion play is a theatrical depiction of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The biggest two in Catalonia are performed in Esparreguera and Olesa de Montserrat.

Both lay on a show featuring impressive staging and great dramatic and technical complexity due to the large number of actors and extras involved.

What makes these two shows unique is the involvement of the whole town. Local people take part in performing and staging the plays which include quick changes of scenery and special effects in such symbolic scenes as Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and the Lord’s Supper.

Passion plays are a theatrical evolution of the Mysteries, medieval plays with a plot based on the Bible and which featured characters such as angels and demons. In Olesa de Montserrat, the play has been performed since 1538 and set a world record in 1996 by bringing together 729 actors on stage at the same time.

The Esparreguera Passion Play has been held since 1611 and is the only one which has live music played by an orchestra with a choir and a seven-hundred-pipe organ accompanying all the scenes. This live instrumental sound brings out the drama of the story.

The dates of the performances vary each year from March to April depending on when Easter is celebrated.