Passion Play to reopen Memorial Day weekend

Thursday, May 21, 2020

By Samantha Jones

The Great Passion Play will reopen to the public for Memorial Day weekend.

Randall Christy, executive director of the Passion Play, said the Arkansas Department of Health approved a plan for the play to resume performances starting at 8:30 p.m. Friday, May 22. Christy said the performances are scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. While the play has 4,000 seats available in the amphitheater, Christy said, only 1,000 seats will be used during the performances.

“That’s 25 percent of our capacity,” Christy said. “Each party that arrives together will be separated by at least 10 feet from other parties in the seating area and there will be no crowded lines. People waiting for tickets will be separated.”

Christy said the cast will stay separated in small groups and will not congregate in dressing rooms.

“A large percentage of them will have a face covering as part of their costume,” Christy said. “We’ll do temperature testing and have a large amount of sanitizer around the facility in use. We worked directly with the state health department in Little Rock to develop a plan that meets all the guidelines.”

The audience isn’t required to wear face coverings, Christy said, according to state guidelines.

“But we encourage people to wear them if they can,” Christy said.

Christy said the petting zoo, museums and walking tours will be open to the public, too.

“We’ll be following social distancing and sanitary guidelines, and we encourage people to get out,” Christy said. “The Great Passion Play is outdoors and is not governed by the same rules as indoor facilities. This is a great outdoor experience for Memorial Day.”

The Passion Play canceled its Easter sunrise service and all performances scheduled for that weekend in April. According to a press release issued March 24, the cancelations came “at the request of the State of Arkansas.” Earlier that day, the Passion Play had announced that it would hold the Easter sunrise service as well as performances on Friday and Saturday, April 10-11.

Christy said he’s happy to reopen on Memorial Day weekend.

“Memorial Day is when we remember the sacrifice that our soldiers have made to keep America a free society,” Christy said, “and we’re celebrating that by remembering the sacrifice Jesus Christ made to set us free spiritually for eternity.”

Christy encouraged people to purchase tickets online to cut down on lines.

“We’re very excited that we are able to perform the Great Passion Play. It is a vital part of our community’s economy,” Christy said. “We are determined not to allow a virus to stop the message of Jesus Christ.”

For more information on the Passion Play or to purchase tickets, visit

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