A sprawling Viking Village is being set up this July just outside Bishop Auckland, in County Durham in Northeast England. 

Alongside a cookhouse, cottages, and a working blacksmith's forge, the Viking Village will feature a 1,000-strong stage production with a volunteer cast and crew on a gigantic stage. 

This immersive setup serves as the prelude to Kynren, a 90-minute, multi-award-winning show presented by 11Arches, running from July 27 to September 14. 

Kynren - an Epic Tale of England introduces the audience to the story of Arthur, a time traveler guided by his older self, who embarks on a journey through the depths of England's past. 

Behind this experience is 11Arches, a charitable organization dedicated to creating high-quality productions and attractions as part of its innovative arts, education, and community development program. 

Located just outside Bishop Auckland, the Viking Village comes alive with traditional cottages, a cookhouse, and a blacksmith's forge, recreated to immerse visitors in ninth-century life. Photo: Kynren – An Epic Tale of England

Wander through the Viking Village 

As part of the pre-show entertainment for 2024, audience members will have the opportunity to wander through an authentic recreation of a traditional ninth-century village as its inhabitants prepare for a raid. 

"The Viking Village provides an immersive way for audiences to travel back in time and prepare themselves for the adventure to come," says the project's CEO, Anna Warnecke. 

"There will be the chance to talk and interact with the villagers as they go about their daily lives, visit the cookhouse, see them tend to the animals, prepare meals, and watch the blacksmith at work in his forge producing real chainmail." 

Anna further explains, "The Vikings are a popular aspect of the show, featuring incredible scenes such as a Viking longship burial on the water with live Vikings aboard and the gripping kidnapping of a fisherwoman, all enhanced by dramatic fiery effects and explosions." 

To make the village as authentic as possible, Kynren even has a clutch of rare Icelandic chickens. 

These chickens were originally bred by Vikings and can be traced back to the ninth century. They form part of the show's menagerie, which also includes 33 performance horses, donkeys, sheep, geese, goats, and cows. 

Kynren echoes the Anglo-Saxon word cynren, meaning generation, kin, or family, and is a fitting name for Arthur's epic discovery of his roots. 

Launched in 2016 in Bishop Auckland, "Kynren" has become an annual spectacle, combining mass choreography, combat, and stunning pyrotechnics on a 7.5-acre outdoor stage. Photo: Kynren – An Epic Tale of England

2,000 years of history 

Launched in 2016 here in Bishop Auckland, this epic performance takes the audience on an immersive journey through 2,000 years of history, myth, and legend. 

The huge cast and crew of volunteers engage in a complex and robust set of training programs with highly skilled performance industry specialists to deliver the skills needed to produce world-class entertainment. 

Each summer, the production takes place on a 7.5-acre stage, roughly the size of five soccer pitches, featuring horses and other animals, presented to an audience seated in an 8,000-seat amphitheater called the Tribune. 

Imaginative sets backdrop the mass choreography, combat, stunts, horsemanship, stunning pyrotechnics, and amazing special effects, including water jets and state-of-the-art video projections. 

Award-winning composer Nathan Stornetta has worked alongside film score master Hans Zimmer (Gladiator, The Dark Knight Rises, Pirates of the Caribbean) and created Kynren's epic soundtrack, which evokes drama and excitement. 

The dialog features the distinctive tones of Kevin Whately, known to film and television audiences for his roles in The English Patient and Inspector Morse

Here, he plays the part of Old Arthur, the character who reveals the secret of time travel to Young Arthur, setting him off on his quest for knowledge and discovery of the meaning of Kynren

Kynren, Flatts Farm, Bishop Auckland, County Durham, DL14 7SF. July 27-September 14.

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