WITH its cast of more than three dozen horses, a thousand actors and spectacular staging, Kynren is back for another year.
Now a familiar fixture in the summer calendar, Kynren – an Epic Tale of England, storms through 2,000 years of history in just 90 minutes.
Its bloody battles, flaming torches and spectacular fireworks have become well-known features of the Bishop Auckland spectacle.
This year’s season started earlier in the year than usual, with a special event for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee on Friday. The show culminated in the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – along with an huge firework display, a rendition of the national anthem and a crowd singalong to the Beatles All you Need is Love.
And there was a lot of love in the air as the show came to an end.
Starting with one of the abiding legends of early English Christianity, of Joseph of Arimathea visiting Glastonbury, the show goes on to dramatise Boudica’s uprising against the Romans, Viking raids at Lindisfarne and the subsequent journey of St Cuthbert, ending at Durham.
Progressing through history, we visit the Tudors and the plays of Shakespeare, Charles I and the civil war, and the industrial revolution and the first train journey on the Stockton and Darlington Railway.
The most poignant moment perhaps is the pit disaster, with the horse-drawn hearses trundling to Durham Cathedral, with the building’s spectacular rose window brought to life with light and jets of water, while the miners’ hymn Gresford is playing by a colliery band
Moving into the 20th century, there is a tribute to the First World War, which sees the walls of a replica Auckland castle adorned with poppies, and to the Second World War and Churchill’s addresses to the nation.
The galloping horses, gambolling sheep and goats pulling children on carts all rightly get cheers from the crowd and add to the richness of the scenes, all played out on a seven-and-a-half acre site, complete with lake, from which a Viking ship emerges, replica Auckland Castle and
With the added displays of equestrianism, stunts and sword fighting it really is an entertaining night out. This was my first visit, after several years of wanting to see the show, and I’m pleased to report I was not disappointed.
The stage is nestled beneath Auckland castle, which as the light fades from the sky remains lit up – a reminder that the setting for this peek at history is very much in Bishop Auckland and the wider North East.
The remainder of the shows for this summer take place in August and September, with weekly Saturday shows from August 6 to September 10.
Show times vary, depending on the time of sunset, with each show ending in darkness and fireworks.
- Adults from £26, Under 18 from £16, Children aged 3 and under go free when sat on an adult’s knee. All Kynren prices published exclude a £1 booking fee per ticket.
- Kynren is performed at 11Arches Park, Flatts Farm, Bishop Auckland, County Durham DL14 7SF.
- For more details visit www.11arches.com/kynren
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