On 30th June 2018, Kynren – An Epic Tale of England returns for its third and most spectacular season yet. The UK’s ‘must see’ live-action show, takes visitors on a breath-taking odyssey through 2,000 years of history, myth and legend and is set to thrill audiences with brand new scenes, new characters and daring and fiery new stunts.
We were fortunate to have been able to attend the press preview night, and we are certain it’s going to be another successful season of Kynren in Durham this year!
The entire show is put on by award-winning volunteers
Set against the magnificent backdrop of Auckland Castle in County Durham, Kynren returns for 17 sensational performances throughout the summer, following the entire 1,000-strong cast and crew receiving the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. Everyone who you see on stage, and those you don’t see backstage, have given up their time since January getting ready for the show this summer. Some volunteers have taken part in every year of Kynren.
2,000 years in 90-minutes
Kynren brings the history of the UK and the North East to life in a 90-minute world-class spectacular. With state-of-the-art special effects, amazing fireworks and evocative orchestral music, this amazing celebration of heritage and history is both remarkable and unmissable for 2018.
Kynren remembers past generations
This year Kynren has a focus on the theme ‘In Remembrance’, with the world-class spectacular marking two very special centenaries: the World War I Armistice – a moment laced with poppies and poignancy; and the Suffragette Movement winning the vote for women. Brand new scenes include a World War II commemoration of the Royal Air Force, and rousing moments of modern history, such as Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation and England winning the 1966 World Cup – every era stamping its mark for all generations.
You’ll see things that aren’t there
There are some seriously breath-taking effects during the performance. For example, giant waterjet ballet sequences, amazing pyrotechnics and lighting projections. Realising the fountains had somehow recreated Durham cathedral was an astonishing moment.
The Kynren horses are amazing
The horses at Kynren are fabulous. The stunts are bold; one horse cantered along while its saddle/blanket was on fire, there were horses jumping over fire and another dragging a Roman along the ground at speed. The jousting was fun, too, although obviously very tricky to hit a small target while riding a galloping horse, the knights are skilled. Those volunteers have put in a great deal of practice and it shows.
The music is film-worthy
Award-winning composer Nathan Stornetta apparently worked alongside the master of film scores, Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, The Dark Knight Rises, Pirates of the Caribbean), and has created Kynren’s epic soundtrack, that evokes drama and excitement.
You’ll travel back in time
The show is narrated by Kevin Whately, who is best known for his roles in Auf Wiedersehen Pet, Inspector Morse and Lewis. Kevin plays the part of Old Arthur, the character who reveals the secret of time travel to Young Arthur, setting him off on his quest for knowledge and discovery of the meaning of who he is.
The Kyren trailer is like a movie
The show will go on, even if it rains
If the weather turns inclement in Bishop Auckland, Kynren will still play. The seats are open to the elements, so either take your raincoat or buy one of the ponchos available in the Kynren shop for £4.
It’s closer to you than you think
The journey from Newcastle upon Tyne to Bishop Auckland was just 40 minutes and a very straightforward drive at that. There are no twisty, tiny country roads or anything like that – Kynren is on the main road. A tip for Kynren – our sat nav took us to under the viaduct, and we were the 30th car the kind resident had redirected that evening! He may have been exaggerating but I imagine he’ll not be far off if everyone has the same problem. So, here’s the map point you will need to go to if you are aiming for Kynren car park C rather than using the postcode in your sat nav.
Kynren celebrates families
What makes Kynren so special is the multi-generational nature of the volunteers, who range in age from five-years-old to 85 (although there is one memorable, emotional scene where I’m sure there’s a boy who is younger than 5). Entire families have joined in, with grandparents, parents and children all getting involved and finding their Kynren experience bonds them in a way few other leisure interests can.
In fact, Kynren echoes the Anglo Saxon word ‘cynren’, which means generation, kin or family.
You’ll appreciate how important the north east has been in the UK
Kynren is a reminder of the tremendous contribution the North East made to the history of the nation. Watching the train chuff along in the show, you’ll remember that Stephenson created the Rocket in nearby Newcastle. The mine shaft provided employment for local people but also coal for the world. Let’s not forget that Greggs pasties also originate from the North East, and if you look carefully you’ll spot a shop in the show!
Kynren celebrates the north east
This one kind of goes without saying, but it is a real celebration of some things that are a part of the fibre of the North East. Mining heritage runs strong in the North East, which is included not only in the mine scene but also in the miner’s gala. Durham Brass is a brilliant festival that takes place each year, and the brass band in Kynren cements the spirit of the north east, featuring a recording by Ferryhill and Spennymoor colliery brass bands.
This year is better than last year!
Kynren was created thanks to an initial £35m investment, funded entirely by charitable donations, used for the infrastructure of the site and the show area, and creating, producing, operating and marketing the show in its first year. From 2017 onwards, Kynren uses the previous year’s profits from tickets and merchandise sales reinvested in the show and keeping it at its best, continually increasing the skill level for volunteers to make this show the success it is.
Kynren is incredible!
There are things that happen on the stage and you think, before they happen, that they couldn’t happen. A sleepy looking lake, with a little cottage nearby, make a 7.5 acres stage. The fire, the buildings that transform into other things, the fireworks, and the sentiment all make Kyren unmissable!
For booking please visit: www.kynren.com
We were invited to the press preview of Kynren 2018 for the purposes of this post.