Maximum impact – whichever performance you choose
Steve and his team are optimising each scene for maximum visual impact in the context of the depth of darkness in which each scene is performed; earlier scenes in the story redesigned with specialist lighting, pyrotechnics and effects specifically for maximum impact at dusk, while later scenes make the most of the complete darkness. With show times calibrated to ensure each performance commences at the same relative light level, this important development means that the visitor experience will be consistent and equally impressive at every performance.
New scenes and characters
New for 2017, Steve has introduced a completely new scene: the dramatic arrival of Britain’s formidable Celtic leader, Queen Boudicca, who is accompanied by her daughters astride their prancing horses, which have been trained to rear up on cue and perform amidst fire and flambeaux.
Boudicca is not the only new character to feature in Kynren 2017; you will meet the Venerable Bede, Prince Bishop Bek, Bishop Trevor – and Henry VIII’s ‘fixer-in-chief’, Cardinal Wolsey. Other story lines have been expanded or restaged; the Vikings, the coronation of William the Conqueror, Shakespeare’s scene and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee all benefit from new treatments, while the dialogue has been revised and enhanced throughout the entire show, engaging more female characters in narrating the story. If you are a return visitor, you will notice the addition of a giant Axeman at the Battle of Stamford Bridge, Lindisfarne fisherwomen, medieval wrestlers, and a musket battle between Roundheads and Cavaliers in the English Civil War. An especially poignant addition to the Miners’ scene is a newly-commissioned recording of the hymn “Gresford.” The Ferryhill and Spennymoor Community bands joined together inside Durham Cathedral to record the composition in its authentic acoustic environment. As for the finale, this will be even more spectacular than before, with the entire cast involved, re-imagined mass choreography and new special effects.
More layers of detail and visual depth
Steve and his team have been forensically reviewing every scene, adding more visual depth at every opportunity, enhancing the sophistication of the lighting, fire effects, pyrotechnics and projections and increasing the complexity of the combat scenes and mass choreography. Further visual riches include Bunraku puppetry and ever more flamboyant costumes – for both human and horse cast members…
The layers of detail and additional content is made possible by Steve’s creative eye and his many years of experience orchestrating large scale mass-movement events, including multiple Olympic and Paralympic opening ceremonies stretching back to Barcelona on 1992 and most recently Rio 2016, with London 2012 benefitting from his vision along the way. With a significantly larger cast of volunteers this year, Steve has been able to add extra depth, scale and pageantry to each scene, enriching the visual tableaux with the addition of deftly-crafted cameos such as splintering jousts and cavalry sequences. At one point, you may even find yourself dreaming of a white Christmas in the height of summer, as snowflakes gently flutter over the Tribune (assuming the wind permits!).
Augmented animal cast
The scenes featuring the members of the animal cast have also been enhanced for 2017. Not only will you witness extraordinary displays of horsemanship, the performance of the horses themselves has been elevated thanks to the highly technical agility training overseen by Eleven Arches’ Head of Cavalry, international eventer, Anna Warnecke. The horses will be joined on stage by fleecy, furry and feathered friends; you’ll see the ever-expanding gaggle of geese, and, after a successful lambing season, we now have a much larger flock of Texel sheep. Making their debut this year are a donkey, three goats and a Durham Shorthorn ox.
Finally, to ensure Kynren’s second season starts with a bang, and to celebrate our opening night, there are extra treats in store exclusive to The Première, with a free goodie bag for every visitor, live music courtesy of the Spennymoor and Ferryhill colliery bands as you arrive and additional firework features throughout the show.