Win 4 tickets to The Passion Play

Dale Collings, centre, as Christ in a scene from the 2023 production of the Durban Passion Play at the Playhouse Drama theatre, where it was last staged seven years ago. This year’s production, making good use of a revolving stage, runs Tuesdays to Sundays, until April 16.


CARE to be in line to win four tickets to a performance of the Durban Passion Play, usually staged in the city every five years over Easter by The Durban Catholic Players’ Guild? Telling the story of Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection, The Passion Play was last presented seven years ago, the dreaded Covid-19 having prevented the scheduled 2020 production.

This year’s production, now running until April 16 at Durban’s Playhouse Drama theatre, marks the 15th by the guild and its 130-plus volunteer performers. Performing on a revolving stage, they range in age from toddlers to seniors – a multiracial, multi-denominational team of performers who are not paid a cent and who have given up Thursdays and Sundays for the past six moths to rehearse this spectacle and bring it to life.

There are also multi-generational family groups, with the older members having performed on multiple occasion. Some in the cast have performed in more than eight productions.

For a chance to win four tickets, see the end of this post for competition entry details.

The Passion Play covers the final period of Christ’s life from his visit to Jerusalem to his execution by crucifixion and ending with the Resurrection. 

This year Christ is performed well by Dale Collings, a new cast member who was scheduled to fill the role of Jesus in 2020. The role of Madonna is being shared by Isabel Mateus and Bianca Sandiah.

There is something new this year –  various animals, mostly displayed in the theatre foyer, which have been handmade by Edox Gerard. Watch for the cute sheep that join the cast members, who are under the direction of Dawn Haynes and Jessica Wardle.

The play is directed by Dawn Haynes and Derek Griffin, who have been working on the script and training the actors for more than 18 months.

This year, there are larger-than-life animals who join the cast – all beautifully handmade and rendered by Edox Gerard.

Fondly known as the “Oberammergau of Africa”, The Passion Play was first performed in Durban in 1952, when the mayor and community of Oberammergau in Bavaria granted special permission to the Durban Catholic Players’ Guild to stage an abridged version of their world-famous production. 

What was first enacted in 1634 in Oberammergau was used in Durban as a means of celebrating the centenary of the arrival of the missionary Oblate priests of Mary Immaculate, who arrived in South Africa in 1852.

That first Durban play, enacted at Greyville Racecourse, was so successful that Durban’s Father Noel Coughlan travelled to Bavaria to gain permission for the Durban version of the play to be staged every five years. The Oberammergau village elders willingly obliged, seeing the play as a means of witnessing to the larger population of Southern Africa: Durban would become the “Oberammergau of Africa”.

It has now been presented in Durban every five years since 1952, originally at Greyville Racecourse before moving to the Durban City Hall until 1997, then more recently at Durban’s Playhouse.

There are daytime and evening performances of this year’s Passion Play. Tickets cost R100 each at Webtickets. For block booking queries phone Dominic at 082 460 7677.



Care to put yourself in line to win FOUR TICKETS to a performance of your choice (subject to availability) of the 2023 Passion Play which is being presented at Durban’s Playhouse Drama theatre until April 16?

You simply have to be a follower of the SoSuterBill site to win.  At no cost.

If you are not already a follower, simply leave your email address in the space provided towards the end of the cover page of this site, (access the cover page by clicking ‘Latest Posts’ on the menu bar).

You will then be a follower, and receive email notification whenever I file a new story.

Once you have subscribed (there is no cost), send your NAME and PHONE NUMBER via email (NOT THIS SITE’S CONTACT FORM) to and place the words ‘PASSION PLAY GIVEAWAY’ in the subject field. 

Note that the competition closes at 6pm on Sunday, March 10, and the winner will be contacted soon after. His/her name will be posted in this spot thereafter. (The winner is Mthobiso Ndlovu).

Also note that tickets may not be exchanged for another performance and that the prize is for tickets only (not travel and/or accommodation should this prove necessary).




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