Alberta floods reduce attendance for 20th anniversary season of Badlands Passion Play

Red Deer River campground for actors and volunteers evacuated during floods

Published Sunday, July 28, 2013


 clientuploads/13 TCBPP Standing Ovation.jpg

 All photos credited to: Ron Nickel

"Ticket sales for the 20th anniversary season of the Canadian Badlands Passion Play in Drumheller were well ahead of the previous five year’s average prior to the flooding,but the rising waters around the province brought a marked decline in bookings for our nine plays this summer,” explains Executive Director Vance Neudorf.

The Passion Play also had to deal with its own flooding challenges. “Just a week before we were to perform, the Red Deer River flood waters swept over the riverside campground where Passion Play actors and support staff live during rehearsals and performances. The campground was quickly evacuated and the actors relocated to higher ground at the Badlands Passion Play site itself.

Passion Play parking lots designed for patrons on performance days were filled to capacity with actor RVs while the lawns around the Jerusalem styled buildings were crowded with tents. As the water receded, organizers were faced with ruined washroom facilities and a foot of thick,  sticky mud spread across the entire campground. With only one week to opening night, a cleanup seemed impossible - but thanks to the tireless efforts of Encana, ATCO, the Town of Drumheller and numerous volunteers, the campground was back up and running just in time.  The parking lots were cleared, the sun came out and the 20th season started on cue.”

The weather for the nine performances of the Canadian Badlands Passion Play, the most ever undertaken in one season, was stellar.  The Badlands Passion Play’s record of only cancelling two shows due to weather in the past twenty years remained intact.

clientuploads/13 TCBPP Dancing Joy Reduced.jpgPhoto credit: Ron Nickel clientuploads/13 TCBPP Last Supper Reduced.jpg

Photo credit: Ron Nickelclientuploads/13 TCBPP Jesus Donkey Reduced.jpgPhoto credit: Ron Nickel

New for the 2013 performances was veteran Alberta actor Aaron Krogman who made his debut as Jesus.  There was also the completion of the Forum, a smaller theatre space that functions as a foyer for the main stage production. Visitors to the site walked in through a marketplace with live music, vendors and stalls. Plans for 2014 will include more enhancements to this area and beginning in August, a local theatre group will be performing Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” in the new Forum theatre.

“We were also pleased with the very positive customer feedback that we have received from online websites such as and our own customer feedback.  In both situations research revealed that 95% + of people who saw a 2013 performance of The Canadian Badlands Passion Play would recommend the play to friend.”

Neudorf says planning for the 2014 season will begin shortly. Tentative dates are July 10-20.


clientuploads/13 TCBPP Soldiers & shields copy.jpg

clientuploads/13 TCBPP msitreated lady Reduced.jpg

 clientuploads/13 TCBPP Jesus on Cross- behind Reduced.jpg

 Photo credit: Ron Nickel

The Canadian Badlands Passion Play - Celebrating its 21st season in 2014

Since its first performance in 1994, The Canadian Badlands Passion Play has gained provincial, national and international reputation as one of North America’s top ‘must see’ cultural and tourism events. Located near Drumheller, Alberta approximately 90 miles northeast of Calgary, the annual ‘Theatre in the Badlands’ attraction provides its audiences with a dramatic retelling of the life of Jesus Christ. The 200+ performer play supported by 400 volunteers is presented in a 30-acre natural badlands canyon bowl whose stark and dramatic geographical surroundings mirror those of ancient Israel. In 2014, The Canadian Badlands Passion Play performances will take place July 10-20  1-888-823-2001.

 All photos credited to: Ron Nickel