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Warriors Prepare For Battle During Kynren Rehearsal Weekend

Published : 20 Jun, 2024

Kynren’s cast and crew have been training with the show’s experienced choreographers to master the art of war ahead of the first show on Saturday 27th July.

Volunteers involved in combat scenes help to tell the epic tale of England which follows 2,000 years of history on a seven-and-a-half-acre outdoor stage, featuring a 1,000 strong cast and crew.

To prepare for Kynren’s upcoming summer season of shows, the production’s team of skillful choreographers have been working with the volunteers, to help the cast portray some of Britain’s bloodiest battles which feature in the Bishop Auckland production.

Rhys McGurk is a member of one of the show’s combat teams, and has grown up with the show after volunteering as a young Arthur in 2016 during Kynren’s earlier seasons. He now plays a gladiator and has continued to learn a broad spectrum of combat skills during his Kynren journey.

Rhys said: “The attention to detail that goes into every combat scene is hugely impressive – we get to learn highly intricate movements and elaborate sword skills to bring these fighting sequences to life on stage.

“The stage combat and choreography team are really experienced and take their time to ensure we completely understand and feel comfortable with these detailed moves. All volunteers spend a lot of time practicing the different elements with each other – we want to amaze audiences each night with our complex combat skills.”

Rehearsals for the 2024 run of Kynren began in February and techniques such as sword etiquette, parries and passes of the swords and how to fake a death in stage battle are all part of the training regime, alongside mass movement scenes like the Battle of Stamford Bridge and the re-enacted Viking Attack.

A breadth of history and fighting styles are covered, from a young Arthur fighting against a Roman Gladiator armed with a trident to Viking and Saxon combat using axes and Medieval style swordsmanship inspired by the Battle of the Prince Bishops, with the scenes featuring historically accurate combat skills to provide an authentic reenactment.

Organising the hundreds of volunteers involved in Kynren falls to Wendy Wilshere, head of volunteer casting and engagement. She said: “We’re indebted to the volunteers who help us tell the story of Kynren each summer here in Bishop Auckland. Learning stage combat, acting and weapons skills from the expertly trained team is a great opportunity, and lots of fun, for many of the people taking part in Kynren.”

From Boudicca’s battles with the Romans to two world wars, as well as Vikings, Tudors, Stuarts, Queen Victoria and the Industrial Revolution, Kynren is a real whistlestop tour of 2000 years of history myth and legend. It is a spellbinding, family-friendly experience delivering thrills, shocks, tears, laughs, goosebumps and gasps on a truly cinematic scale. The 8,000-seater tribune provides panoramic views across the outdoor stage. 

The 90-minute performances start at sunset and ends in starlight and will be taking place every Saturday night from 27th July to 14th September.  

Tickets cost from £26 for adults and from £16 for under 18s. Children aged 3 and under are free when sat on an adult’s knee. 

Posted on Jun 20, 2024

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