30 APR 2019: Vikings are preparing to crash the UK’s biggest outdoor live theatre spectacular, Kynren – an epic tale of England, this summer. Featuring a 1,000-strong cast and crew, Kynren – an epic tale of England, takes place annually in the northeastern English county of Durham.

This year it will look back even further to the Scandinavian invaders who laid waste to much of the country starting in AD793, and profoundly influenced the future nature of the country.

Performed on a three-hectare outdoor stage at Bishop Auckland (25 minutes from Durham and 45 minutes from Newcastle), the multi award-winning theatre event immerses audiences in the telling of a 2,000-year tale of history in which visitors are invited to take a “spellbinding journey” through time, meeting characters such as Boudicca, King Arthur, and Queens Elizabeth 1 and Victoria along the way. There are 29 scenes in all, featuring choreography, stunts, equestrianism, special effects and pyrotechnics.

This year’s theme, “The Year of the Viking,” will feature new stunts and choreography for scenes in the show that includes a Viking long-ship burial on the water with “live” Vikings on board, the kidnapping of a fisherwoman, and lots of dramatic fiery effects and explosions.

For the first time, audiences will also be able to wander through an authentic recreation of a Viking village before the show, which includes a cookhouse complete with vegetable patch, a woodworker’s cottage built into the hillside and a working blacksmith’s forge producing real chainmail.

Kynren is produced by Eleven Arches, a registered charity whose objective is to produce a world-class historical show, underpinned by a foundation of an innovative and engaging arts, education and community development program. Cast and crew include a thousand local volunteers, with ages ranging from five to 82 years, working together with a world-class team of professionals.

Also involved in the show are 33 performance horses comprising a cavalry unit that takes to the stage. Uniformly grey to ensure they stand out when it gets dark, the breeds vary to include Lusitanos, Percherons, Wielkopolskis and Kladrubers.

With an audience of close to 8,000 per show, Kynren, which opened in 2016, is on track to bring half a million visitors to the North East of England by 2020.

In 2019, performances will be staged on Saturdays from June 29 to Sept. 14 at Flatts Farm, Bishop Auckland (about two and half hours north of London). Ticket prices range from £25 to £59, (CA$43 to CA$102) with child and teen prices £10 (CA$17) off the adult price (and under three free). They can be ordered HERE.

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Michael Baginski

Editor at Large, Mike Baginski is well known and well respected within the industry across Canada, the US, in the Caribbean, Mexico and numerous other destinations outside North America.

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