Bad Ischl nativity play
Upper Austria's oldest religious folk play
After a four-year break the more than 300-year old "Bad Ischl nativity play" is being performed again in Bad Ischl this year. It is Upper Austria's oldest religious folk play and dates back to a codex from the year 1654.
In Linz' regional museum there is a manuscript from 1725, which is the oldest known version of the "Bad Ischl nativity play". Several festive performances with more than 100 actors are known about from the previous century. After the Second World War the tradition of the nativity play was continued by the "Bad Ischl folk theatre group", which now performs the piece every four years. The original dialect in the shepherd scenes has been kept to date.
The oldest religious folk play still impresses today
The Bad Ischl nativity play is the oldest religious folk play in Upper Austria. The text first appeared in print in the "collection of old shepherd songs and Christmas carols" by the St. Florian's canon Wilhelm Pailler in 1880. The publisher refers to a Bad Ischl codex from 1654, which is unfortunately missing though.
An exception for the Emperor
In Linz' regional museum there is a manuscript from 1725 - it is the oldest known version of the Bad Ischl nativity play. Once the Bad Ischl nativity play was even performed for the Emperor's birthday on 18 August (!) 1870.
The text was lost for the Bad Ischl nativity play for many years and was only discovered again in 1922. As a result, the nativity play could be performed again with the music composed for it by Vockner in the 1922/1923 season. After the Second World War, the Bad Ischl folk theatre group picked up the tradition again and has been performing the Bad Ischl nativity play every 4 years since then.
The Bad Ischl nativity play is being performed again this year
26 and 27 December 2015
3 and 6 January 2016
Starts: always at 5.00 p.m.
Venue: Bad Ischl town parish church