The 2018 Canadian Badlands Passion Play came to a close Sunday afternoon at the natural amphitheatre on Drumheller's west end and it's already being called one of the best years ever.
"The second highest (attendance) ever in the whole history of the Passion Play. We had one other higher in a year that we launched a new script and it was a celebration of an anniversary in that same year," crowed Executive Director Vance Neudorf. "We didn't have any rained out shows or called shows; this was just a stellar year for nice, stable weather."
Attendance for the nine shows was just under their target of 13,000, or more than 1,400 on average per performance and opening night was a sellout with more than 2,000 in attendance.
"I was expecting, with a change to a more music based format, that there would be a lot more people saying I don't like this, but it's actually been overwhelmingly, like 97 per cent, saying I like the musical format, I like the way it touched me," noted Neudorf.
"A normal re-write of this nature would take a playwright and a composer three or four or five years; we pulled this off in three months, basically 16 days of rehearsal to get this on the ground," he stated. "We have a thousand responses from our audience already so we're going to hone that thing, just keep pulling it in and making it even more effective."
Next up for the Badlands Amphitheatre is the opera Carmen on Saturday, August 4. Corb Lund and Ian Tyson perform on the 25th and the month will end with the Drumbeats Laser, Light and Water Show on August 31.