Anne-Isabelle is our CEO and heroic leader, and it is through her tenacity and passion that Eleven
Arches has translated from a dream to reality. Anne-Isabelle joined the Auckland Castle Trust in December
2012 to conduct the feasibility studies for a Puy du Fou style visitor attraction, adding over time three
other of the Trust’s projects under her direction. She created Eleven Arches with Jonathan Ruffer in 2013
and in early 2014 set it up as a separate entity to further its development.
Before coming north, she had led a successful career in the City spanning more than 13 years in various
senior marketing, sales and strategy roles in leading global investment banks (Goldman Sachs, UBS, Brown
Brothers Harriman), including 11 years on the US Stock market. Anne Isabelle retrained at Chelsea College of
Arts and became CEO of Designed to Live In, an interior design and space modelling consultancy in 2010,
applying her interests in contemporary architecture and design to create bespoke and stunning interiors.
Deputy Executive Producer
Damien is a seasoned executive show producer with more than 15 years of experience in entertain projects around the world, from design to engineering and production. He was recruited to Walt Disney Imagineering to take charge of the “Moteur Action Show” in EuroDisney, for the opening of the second Walt Disney Studios park. He then went on to set up his own company in 2007 specialising in sets and scenography. Damien became a volunteer for the Cinéscénie in Puy du Fou in France in 2,000, starting as a member of the technical team, where he stayed for 7 years.
Volunteering let to him joining Puy du Fou International full time a project manager in 2012 to produce their first show outside France in Efteling (Holland), Europe’s third theme park. He was the Project Director for Puy du Fou International, overseeing the construction and the production of the first season of Kynren, relocating his family to Bishop Auckland in order to do so and is now a full member of the Eleven Arches team for the second season of Kynren.
Steve has built his career specialising in Olympic ceremonies and large-scale events that meld mass spectacle and volunteer mass casts. He has contributed - in a spectrum of roles - to 13 consecutive Summer and Winter Olympics, spanning Barcelona ’92 to Rio 2016. Other credits include Special Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Paralympics, Asian Games and several Super Bowl Halftimes. He has staged show on every continent except for Antarctica - but he thinks Bishop Auckland will substitute nicely.
Prior to event production, Steve designed for several Condé Nast publications including Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.
Jai has been involved in the events industry for 20 years, spending the first ten years in rock ’n’ roll, becoming tour manager then on to production manager, working with record labels and management companies across the UK before becoming the MD of a small local record label. He then went into the corporate world managing and producing corporate events across the UK and Europe, building up and helping production companies achieve their growth goals and targets.
Having recently returned from Sri Lanka where he and his partner were involved with animal charity WECare Worldwide, Jai has joined Eleven Arches as Technical Manager bringing his experience of event production, business development and broad technical back ground to Kynren.
Head of Cavalry
Anna has been competing at the top level in Eventing for the past 15 years, bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Kynren Cavalry Team. Her notable achievements include a team medal for Germany in the 2005 European Championships and numerous placings from her 19 CCI**** appearances at Badminton, Burghley and Luhmuehlen. Having taken over the reins from the Puy Du Fou team, she brought on our inexperienced horses and volunteers ahead of Kynren’s phenomenal first season, and has since added the other show animals to her team. Her passion and dedication enable her to get the most out of the sensitive show horses, using empathy and understanding.
Anna is proud to be part of this amazing show, and to utilise her skills to educate the local volunteers and animals in this unique environment.
Head of Volunteer Casting
Michele moved to the Northeast from the South of England in 1993 and has worked in the voluntary and community sector in county Durham for over 20 years. Home is County Durham, and Michele is passionate about the area and its people, particularly volunteers and all that is volunteering and she is very proud to part of the revitilisation of the Bishop Auckland area, through both Eleven Arches and Auckland Castle Trust. Michele was previously Partnerships Manager at Groundwork NE & Cumbria and Chief Executive Officer of 2D which incorporated the local Volunteer Centre. Prior to that she worked for NACRO as a placement manager, but started her working life with Marks and Spencer through their management training programme.
Michele’s own volunteering is as a director of County Durham Community Foundation and Jack Drum Arts, as well as compering charitable events.