Celebrate the Queen's Jubilee in Spectacular Style with Kynren
Nothing celebrates the best of England better than Kynren
Two thousand years of history, myth and legend are packed into a 90-minute outdoor theatre extravaganza when Kynren (an epic tale of England) takes over Flatts Farm in Bishop Auckland. Anyone who has seen it will tell you there’s nothing else quite like it. From Boudicca’s battles with the Romans to two World Wars, our history is told through stunning stunts, equestrianism and pyrotechnics. This family-friendly, multi award-winning live action show is a not-to-be-missed North East cultural highlight each year – and this year it’s taking things up a gear for Her Majesty.
In celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, Kynren returns a little earlier this year on 3rd June, starting at sunset and ending in starlight. You’ll join young Arthur on his spellbinding journey through time. There’ve been changes to some of the fight scenes, the Jubilee scene and the civil war scene but we’re promised it’ll be as impressive as ever. The following day, Fina and The Golden Cape, the biggest equine stunt show in the UK, returns for the Platinum Street Party. Fina and The Golden Cape is an 11Arches original production – a 50-minute fast-paced family treat featuring heroes and villains and impressive tricks. The Platinum celebration includes a delicious three-course meal in the Arches Hall or a tasty hamper to be enjoyed outdoors. And with a live band, a live broadcast of the Platinum Jubilee Concert (with an open-air dance floor), themed bars, and a giant street party to look forward to 11Arches have really pulled out all the stops. The day of celebration will come to a close when fireworks light up the sky.
Kynren and Fina and The Golden Cape are shows that have been years in the making, and one of many who speak proudly of their success is Anna Warnecke, 11Arches director of cavalry and estates and the executive producer of Fina and the Golden Cape. She’s been involved in Kynren since 2016, when 11Arches began operating with the first season of Kynren (which was a sell-out), inspired by the award-winning Cinéscénie produced by Puy du Fou in France. Since then, Kynren has attracted more than 250,000 visitors to Bishop Auckland. ‘I helped to train the first riders in our equestrian centre and then when the horses came over from France, I started training them with our riders,’ Anna remembers. ‘The first year was hugely exciting, and just to be involved in this epic adventure was amazing. Since then, my role has evolved. My team has grown too, and it’s been an absolute blast.’
Kynren’s cast and crew of 1,000 volunteers have performed on the seven-and-a-half acre stage each year since the production began, except in 2020 when Covid put paid to the showing. ‘In the first year, most of them had never ever performed on a stage, let alone with 8,000 people watching them,’ Anna says. ‘Many of our volunteers are still the same ones we had in the first year which is incredible. It means we’re a real family, and they have learned so much – acting skills, sword-fighting skills, jousting skills – many have been professionally trained by us now for six years and that’s a long time. These guys are no amateurs anymore. Whatever we come up with, our cast are always up for it. They’re as crazy as we are, which is wonderful.’
'With a live band, a live broadcast of the Platinum Jubilee Concert
(with an open-air dance floor), themed bars, and a giant street party
to look forward to 11Arches have really pulled out all the stops’
Although Kynren will continue performances throughout the summer, there’s only one chance to see Fina and the Golden Cape for the Queen’s Jubilee. ‘We felt very strongly that it was a wonderful idea to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee with something special,’ Anna explains. ‘It means that we’re starting the season earlier but Kynren is so fitting for the Queen’s Jubilee – we’re talking about 2,000 years of English history. It’s so patriotic. I’m not English and even I feel really proud living here and being involved in this history.
‘Fina is a really fun show (and really entertaining for kids too). The storyline clearly follows baddies and goodies, so kids get very involved in shouting “boo” and cheering.’ Being a family show, it’s as educational as it is entertaining – as is Kynren. ‘All the children that have seen it or have been involved in it suddenly understand the timeline of history very differently. Watching it is like a movie, and they can link things together and find interest in them. When you think about being able to show a teenager, for example, this show, they don’t have to sit in front of a computer or watch a movie with CGI. They’re seeing real life action and they realise they’re capable of being one of these heroes swinging their sword or hanging upside down off a horse. In a world where we see so much that isn’t real (but is made to look as though it is), that is amazing.’
Anna also enjoys seeing visitors afterwards to find out what they enjoyed about the show. ‘Hearing their view as to what they enjoyed and how we made them feel is fascinating. It’s nice to be able to give them a really happy experience and something to be proud of in the North East that they can feel involved in (if they want to be), or simply be part of as a visitor. It’s fantastic. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.’