Stunning lighting and dramatic effects – monks who appear to walk across the water, Viking longboats that appear out of a lake, Stephenson’s Rocket trundling across the land, and the quietness of the 1914 Christmas truce with football playing soldiers – are all part of this fantastic seasonal show in County Durham. It is the story of Arthur, the son of a mining family in Bishop Auckland, who, following an encounter with Bishop Hensley Henson, the Bishop of Durham, takes a journey through 2,000 years of English history until he eventually finds his own place in time. There are 23 different scenes ranging from soldiers going to war to monks carrying the coffin bearing the remains of St Cuthbert, even King Arthur and the hunt for the Holy Grail.

TALENTED CAST Each performance involves a cast of more than 600 people and hundreds more in ancillary roles, as well as farm animals and horses. Amazingly almost everyone taking part is a volunteer but this not an amateur show. From start to finish, every person involved is fully professional in approach, performance and production. Everyone has been thoroughly trained, taking on almost every type of role throughout the production including pyrotechnics, dancing, music, riding cavalry charges and jousting. The event location is the grounds of Bishop Auckland Palace, for many centuries the home of the Bishops of Durham. The landscaped stage encompasses seven-and-a-half acres and includes a 3,500 square metre purposebuilt lake complete with underwater hydraulics that enable ships to rise out of the depths. The auditorium has a ‘rake’ ensuring a good view for 8,000 people. Dramatic Creators of the project, which will take place over future summers, are Eleven Arches, a local community charity, and French company Puy du Fou, who have been successfully putting on similar productions in France for several decades. Advance booking will open shortly for the 2017 production. “The name of our show echoes the old Anglo-Saxon word ‘Cynren’, which translates as ‘family’ or ‘generation’,” says Anne-Isabelle Daulon, CEO of Eleven Arches. “Not only has Kynren been created as family entertainment, its name says as much about who we are – a big family that spans the generations – as about our ambition: we intend to produce Kynren for future generations. “Like our artistic partner – and source of inspiration – Puy du Fou in France, we are planning to be here for decades to come. With nothing else like it in the UK, Kynren has the power to attract national and international tourists to the region: we are confident Kynren will act as a trip attractor; a unique experience which people will travel long distances for, or extend their trips to the North East to include an overnight stay to experience the show.”
Kynren shows are staged in the evenings and run for an hour-and-ahalf. Specifi c dates for 2017 have yet to be confi rmed, though it is likely to start in June and continue on until September. Prices for this year’s show varied from £25 up to £55. Group discounts are available for groups of ten-plus. Tel. 0333 300 3028 Puy du Fou is an historical theme park in the Vendée region of Western France. Shows run from April to September.

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