Spanning 24 acres, New Jerusalem Theater seems more like a medieval castle than a performance space. Yet each year, this massive open-air theater puts its gigantic space to use for a roving portrayal of the Passion of Christ.
2.2 miles of walls and 70 towers flank the outer perimeter of the New Jerusalem Theater making it by far the largest open-air theater in the entire world. The first passion play in the town took place in 1951, and was comprised only of a few family and friends playing all of the roles. But everything changed in 1963, when the townspeople began constructing a replica Jerusalem in a dusty region of Brejo da Madre de Deus.
Today, the play has grown to include 550 actors and 9 sets including The Upper Room, the Roman Forum and the Sepulcher. During 8 performances during the year, an average of 8,000 people per show from around the globe follow the actors as they move through “ancient Jerusalem,” portraying every step of the Passion of Christ.
For tourists visiting for the show, an inn within the walls of the New Jerusalem Theater allows visitors to stay just feet Jesus and the other performers .