Last year, I wrote about my visit to Kynren in Bishop Auckland which takes audiences on a journey through 2,000 years of British history, myth and legend, encompassing the Roman occupation and both World Wars, with Viking and Norman invasions, medieval feasts, Tudor times, The English Civil War, the Georgian Renaissance, Industrial Revolution and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in between. The show was absolutely fantastic – probably the best I have ever seen, so when I was invited to return this year I had to go! My one thought though was how on earth could they make it any better than last year? Well they did.
The show which takes place at dusk, with Auckland Castle as a backdrop was simply stunning. Like last year, you are blown away with the sheer scale of the production. The scenery is cleverly adapted to seamlessly traverse each time period using lighting, projections and even water. Surprises abound at every turn. One minute there is a jousting tournament with powerful horses thundering past you at breakneck speed, the next, you are listening to Shakespeare and watching Queen Elizabeth sail past on her Royal Barge.
For those of you who saw Kynren last year, there are some new characters appearing this season, including Boudicca, Venerable Bede, Prince Bishop Bek and Cardinal Wolsey. As well as the horses, there are also sheep, geese, donkeys and a pair of Durham shorthorn oxen all helping to bring the scenes to life.
Kynren brilliantly blends historical events of national importance together with those that played a big role in the local area, such as coal mining. Sitting in the audience, you are taken not only on a journey through time, but a rollercoaster of emotions too. There are joyous fetes to enjoy, mythical moments shrouded in mystery and of course the pivotal battles that shaped England. As Kynren draws to a close, you listen to one of Churchill’s moving speeches which still to this day fills you with a determination and pride.
I highly recommend Kynren for young, old and everyone in between! It really makes any play, circus, or battle re-enactment pale into insignificance. It is well worth the journey to County Durham, and you can also take advantage of your visit to check out some other historical places like I did.
Literally right around the corner from Kynren is Binchester Roman Fort. You may have seen it on Time Team a few years ago, and it was voted as the best Roman Fort to visit in Britain in an online poll. If you go to see Kynren and are staying locally overnight, it really is worth taking a look at. The main attraction is the Commanding Officer’s house which is amazingly well preserved with the bath house hypocaust system remarkably intact.
Ticket prices for Kynren are unchanged from 2016, with adult tickets from £25-£55 for adults and children from £19-£41.
Tickets are available to book via the website www.kynren.co.uk
Performance dates and times:
Friday 7 July, 9.30pm, Saturday 8 July, 9.30pm, Friday 14 July, 9.30pm, Saturday 15 July, 9.30pm, Friday 21 July, 9.00pm, Saturday 22 July, 9.00pm
Friday 11 August, 9.00pm, Saturday 12 August, 9.00pm, Friday 18 August, 8.30pm, Saturday 19 August, 8.30pm, Saturday 26 August, 8.00pm, Sunday 27 August, 8.00pm
Friday 1 September, 8.00pm, Saturday 2 September, 8.00pm, Saturday 9 September, 8.00pm, Saturday 16 September, 8.00pm