Kynren returns to tell the epic tale of England

For the second year running, Bishop Auckland in County Durham hosts a live-action extravaganza that recounts 2,000 years of British history

(Image credit: Peter Haygarth)

Last year saw the debut of the open-air spectacular, Kynren – An Epic Tale of England, and the award-winning live-action show returns this summer. The magnificent Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, provides the backdrop to the 90-minute event, which takes a very large audience on a visually impactful journey through two millennia of British history, myth and legend.

The epic's scenes are brought to life with impressive special effects to transport audiences through Roman times and Viking and Norman invasions, celebrating Tudor splendour, the Industrial Revolution and the Roaring Twenties en route to the Second World War.

(Image credit: Peter Haygarth)

The show's scale is amplified this year, with 1,500 – mainly local – volunteers involved as cast and crew, who will be professionally trained by top performance experts in dance, theatrical combat, pyrotechnics and cavalry, among other disciplines. Under the new creative leadership of director Steve Boyd, a veteran mass choreographer for many Olympic and Commonwealth Games ceremonies (including the acclaimed London Olympics in 2012), season two will be bigger and better in every way.

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The action is set to an evocative soundtrack composed by award-winning screen composer Nathan Stornetta, who has collaborated with Hollywood greats such as Hans Zimmer. The action-packed, fast-paced production will be experienced in surround-sound movie quality.

(Image credit: Peter Haygarth)

The live-action night-time show is unique in many ways. Launched by Eleven Arches, it is the vision of philanthropist and investment manager Jonathan Ruffer. This is one of two charities Ruffer has established in Bishop Auckland; the other is the Auckland Castle Trust. The aim of both charities is to establish Bishop Auckland as an international tourist destination, attracting visitors and investment that will contribute to the betterment of the area while empowering the community in this overlooked part of the North East. Last year more than 100,000 visitors experienced Kynren, and this year the ambition is to up the numbers.

Performances run on 17 dates through July, August and September. Tickets are now on sale via

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