Easter Break

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First of all, Happy Easter holidays to you, another great time to wind down and spend some quality time with your families and your friends.

For Kynren and it’s volunteers it’s exactly that too.

After weeks of intensive training, the Kynren site has closed down for a much needed break for each volunteer, and even then we miss not being there.

Rehearsals start again from Saturday 22nd April when all the training, rehearsals and preparation is moved onto the stage.

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For any new volunteers who have signed up to take part during Season 2, they will have a mixture of true excitement alongside waves of nervousness in anticipation.

I know we did last year.

Looking back on this time last year, with a half completed building site, as Construction teams were working around the clock,  to complete works to ensure Kynren opened on time.

As contractors pulled off site, the volunteers would arrive to take part in their on site, on stage training.

These on stage sessions are brilliant days, intense for some, especially the show and technical teams, but these are the days that every team come together to work on aspects of their training in preparation for the live shows.

This year, the majority of volunteers know each other, there will be no awkwardness at times, as after all Kynren lives and breathes as a family unit thesedays, instilled by the passion of its volunteers.

Thinking back on last year, on most occasions the weather was kind, it certainly was on that first on stage rehearsal weekend, it felt as though you weren’t in Bishop Auckland at times, it was strange, you could clearly see the landmarks, but with the music playing and the warm weather and this unbelievable warm feeling running through your bones, you just knew you were in a special environment, one which creates smiles of happiness aplenty.

Come next week, the volunteers will be fully recharged, refreshed and raring to go, for some ready to rekindle the magic of the project of last year.

And some in preparation to witness it all for their very first time.

My advice to you all is take a breath, don’t panic, and take everything in, because these moments are just the start of your exciting Summer, where I know for one you will have the time of your lives.

Interested to know more about Kynren, why not like their Facebook page where you can watch official promotional videos such as this: 

https://www.facebook.com/Elevenarches/videos/122794943938702/

 

 

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Kynren Blog – Media Day (Part 2)

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Following on from part one of my media day with Bishop FM, I had arranged to do another pre-recorded interview in the afternoon, with fellow Archer Mark Ashley Pattison, who not only volunteers his time in Kynren’s Technical team, but also works for television network Made in Tyne and Wear.

After finishing my interview with Bishop FM I was unaware of not only how it went but how it was perceived until many messages came flooding in through social media from friends, and volunteers.

But this one was different, this was TV, where the camera is on you, and nerves did get the better of me on one or two occasions.

Mark doing his level best to calm me down and ensuring me that the interview was going well.

With all things, nerves come from those things that matter most to you, it is things that you care about and you want to do well not only for yourself, but the project and people who stand by your side.

We chose an isolated spot that has great views over the Kynren site and surrounding countryside to conduct the interview.

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Once I calmed my nerves, and tried to forget the camera was not only on me, but also constantly trying not to pause and keep the interview flowing and precise, we managed to record the full interview which can be seen below;

https://www.facebook.com/madeintyneandwear/videos/1850851121842004/

It’s quite incredible that this interview that was broadcast on Sky Channel 117 on Monday 27th March and has gone on to record over 7,000 views in just shy of 3 weeks.

Something I can definitely look back on and be proud of.

With the UK Blogging Awards now only a week away, time is being afforded to dream, it’s a finalist on merit, it tells the Kynren story from not only my volunteers perspective, but it really is just one of the many ‘unofficial stories of us’.

Mine however just happens to be recorded.

Win or lose, we as volunteers, us Archers, we do this together, and if it should happen to be announced as a winning blog in my category on the evening, we shall celebrate the achievement of it all together.

I’m proud to have got this far, it was entered as an opportunity to showcase and promote the project to a wider audience, to tell the inside story of Kynren, to share with the reading audience of all of the emotions that we as volunteers have gone through within the debut season and beyond.

And now the awards are almost upon us, I just hope I can do each and every Archer, past, present, newly joined and those teammates who are sadly no longer with us, David, Molly, Lynn and Brian proud by being able show Kynren off in it’s true light, and share in the real meaning of what it is like to be a volunteer.

Season 2 of Kynren opens on Saturday 1st July and runs for 17 shows throughout the Summer, to book your tickets for what will be the most talked about live outdoor show please visit the Eleven Arches website: http://www.elevenarches.org/

Kynren Blog – Media Day (Part 1)

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On Saturday 25th March, I took part in my own Media Day as a way to promote my Kynren Blog in anticipation of the UK Blog Awards held on Friday 21st April in Westminster, London.

As a nominated finalist it was always my only intention to try and promote the Kynren project to a wider audience and promote the shows.

Earlier in the week I contacted local radio station Bishop FM to ask if they would be interested in doing an interview, I was surprised and delighted to hear that they would be, and they invited me in for a live interview segment on their Saturday morning breakfast show with Gary Burgham, as pictured below.

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On the morning of the broadcast I was feeling quite relaxed, despite never being interviewed live on air before.

I took it as a good opportunity to talk to the many listeners about Kynren and how this project has had a positive impact on my life.

Although once the interview started, I must admit it was quite daunting, hoping I wouldn’t pause too much and struggle to get my words out.

You can judge that for yourselves, to hear more about my interview please click on the attached link;

https://audiobook.com/posts/5747067-andrew-corry-a-volunteer-at-kynren

I have also prearranged with Gary that I will look to do a follow up interview after the awards ceremony, to inform his listeners of how the awards went on the evening.

Hopefully bringing back to Bishop Auckland the converted title of Individual Events & Weddings Blog of the Year.

Here’s hoping anyway.

To learn more about the UK Blog Awards please click on their website here: http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk

 

 

Eleven Arches Press Day

So it’s been 2/3 weeks since my last blog post and whilst I may have been quiet, the Kynren site certainly hasn’t.

During w/c 20th March, not only have the volunteers been training hard in preparation for the shows in a variety of different scenes, including for me;

* Archery refresher training, in preparation to be confident with the bow and flaming arrows come show nights.

* Learning new choreography for scenes of the Norman conquest.

* The Georgian Harvest.

* Drummers and Bagpipes.

* WWI Soldiers

Amongst many more.

Each training session with various different choreographed moves, that not only does each volunteer  have to work hard to learn, but also remember.

There is a lot to go through, and understandably so, after all this is a World Class show, that has and will be visited by visitors Worldwide.

During this week, as you may have already seen, it was Eleven Arches press day, whereby they invited local and national news outlets to have a look around not only the Kynren site, but to also drop in on a training session or two, whilst also talking to some of the staff and volunteers.

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Photos courtesy by The Northern Echo. http://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk

Above I was captured trying out my sword skills in a refresher session in preparation for further combat training later that evening.

I have to say it’s quite nerve wracking to go through a sequence of moves when not only the cameras are on you but when many eyes are too.

You get a sense of what it will be like come show night when you are performing to sell out shows, just like all the first year’s volunteers experienced last year.

Amongst The Northern Echo, both BBC Look North and ITV Tyne Tees were in attendance alongside many other local broadcasters and media outlets.

As the first show date is fast approaching each volunteer knows the magnitude of what is expected of them, to not only attend these training sessions, but to take what they have learnt away with them and practice, and practice until it becomes part of their memory.

More exciting times are now just a mere few months away.

Have you booked your tickets for Season 2?

For more information please visit Eleven Arches website: http://www.elevenarches.org/

 

Daring to Dream

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With the UK Blog Awards now just a mere 4 weeks away, time is being afforded to dream.

In all honesty I’ve been allowing myself to dream big, well before now.

How can you not, it’s a big deal right, the UK Blog Awards is the biggest awards night in it’s industry, it’s a recognised National Award, with over 2,400 entries this year.

Whittled down to 259 finalists, across two different entries of either individual or business, in 17 different categories.

My Kynren Blog is only 1 of 7 listed North East Finalists, and the only 1 from County Durham.

Regardless of winning, it’s already a huge achievement in itself.

But as much as you afford yourself the time to dare to dream, it’s not actually about the winning.

It’s not been the key ingredient that I’m at this point, of course, everyone wants to win, but it’s not why I entered.

Several weeks ago I returned to a question I often ask myself in regards to everything that I do.

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I took the time out to remind myself of why I started, and not just on how I came to become a finalist at this year’s awards either.

I started this blog a year ago, in March of last year, I started it because in all honesty it seemed a good idea at the time, I wanted to record my journey through the Kynren process to one day look back on.

I’m not going to lie either, I didn’t find writing, over time writing found me.

I remember starting the blog, writing a couple of entries and then life took over and I slipped, on the Friday before the first show, the debut show on Saturday 2nd July 2016, I sat down and wrote and uploaded around 10 or 12 blogs to update my blog against it’s current timeline, and since then I’ve not looked back.

I’ve had the pleasure of writing a guest article for The Official Tourism Website of Durham – ‘This is Durham’ in July of last year writing a bespoke piece of what it is like to volunteer at Kynren.

And each blog entry since then has just told my story and my journey, in my own words and has captured my audience’s attention.

I have many readers, mainly across the UK but it has been read across numerous countries worldwide too.

And with that comes back to the reason why I started it.

It’s never been about the likes or the views, it’s great that so many people can and do relate to it.

But it wasn’t my drive to start it, and it’s still not my drive to continue with it.

Kynren is an ‘Epic Tale of England’, the award winning, spectacular open-air night show, run by volunteers that takes you on a captivating journey through 2,000 years of British history, myth and legend.

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But like I said I started this blog as a record to look back upon, to remember so many highlights and captivating memories. 

I entered the blog awards with the sole purpose of raising more awareness for our unbelievable, community project that is Kynren.

Little did I know that it would get this far.

So for me, winning would be nice, but it certainly isn’t everything, having the ability to head down to London in 4 weeks time, and share in a fantastic event and ceremony with so many amazing and inspirational writers and bloggers, covering so many topics and gaining so much insight, is what I’m most looking forward too.

With the added bonus of becoming an ‘Kynren Ambassador’ for the evening and raising the awareness and exposure of not just Kynren but the town our project lives and performs in, that is Bishop Auckland.

Anything above that is just a huge bonus.

For more information or to book your tickets for one of Kynren’s 17 shows this Summer, please visit the Eleven Arches website: http://www.elevenarches.org/

Or to learn more about the awards ceremony please visit the UK Blog Awards website: http://www.blogawardsuk.co.uk 

On-Site Training in Full Swing

This week saw the Kynren site a hive of activity as all of the show teams returned back for training, in what will only be described as another highly anticipated Summer and Season 2 of Kynren – ‘An Epic Tale of England’.

Despite the male teams starting their training a couple of weeks prior, it’s been great to be amongst many of the volunteers this week, to relive the buzz and the excitement that we all remember from season 1.

And many flashback moments have been shared this week, as each week from herein symbolises key moments in the lives of each volunteer.

For me, this time last year, I attended the Experience Team’s World Host Ceremony night held at Bishop Auckland College, celebrated amongst the full army of soon to be kitted up red jacket volunteers who make each visitor welcome when you attend the shows.

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To this week, one year on.

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More combat training, more choreography, more techniques.

From reading my last blog, I can hold my hand up and say I struggled, it’s not as easy as we witness from the shows. It’s a real credit to both the professional trainers and the volunteers themselves how they learn and adapt to new skills.

Thankfully, I feel more relaxed and calmer after this week, as the saying goes “practice pays off” and having taken part in some refresher training sessions I certainly feel I lot more comfortable and confident in what lies ahead.

Each training session is coming along thick and fast and the Kynren factor has already captured everyone’s hearts, no one wants to miss anything.

The project is special, the people even more so.

As you know, one of the main reasons why I moved teams from the Experience to the Show was to keep developing my blog.

I wanted the opportunity to write and record the emotions from the eyes of another side of the project.

It’s what I’d like to do each year if possible.

Every volunteer plays a part in this project, and each of us witnesses something completely different, which for me, makes this project, so, so special.

For many, combat training is special and it is, sword fighting, what’s not to like right?

But it isn’t everything, this project offers so much more, when you’ve had the opportunity to witness it from another set of eyes.

For me, my role last year wasn’t seen as glamorous, being part of a car park team throughout the majority of the show nights, but it needed doing and I’m proud of myself for standing up to do it.

Being in that role taught me so many things about myself and what my strengths and capabilities are.

But a highlight that will stay with me forever was the many families, often in some cases 2, 3 or even 4 generations of their family, arriving in Car Park ‘C’ with their picnic blankets, food and drinks.

Setting up outside their cars, sitting on the grass, catching up with each other, sharing stories and watching the sheer excitement of why they were all there, to witness our show that is Kynren.

I’ve mentioned many times that Kynren means different things to different people, but from that unglamorous role in the car parks I got to witness families meeting up, some who hadn’t seen each other since Christmas, many even longer.

I got to see their smiles, and witness the excitement, in many cases from the parents, equally, if not more than their children.

And I got their final wave of goodbyes and thank you’s when they left, with a final note of ‘we will be back’.

From moving over into the show, this week I wanted to soak up all the excitement and the buzz from the show team volunteers, not only in my training sessions, but stay around for the registration process for other sessions too.

And what’s left to say?

It’s great to be back…

Kynren returns for Season 2 on Saturday 1st July, running for 17 shows.

From the training I have received and speaking to various volunteers, this season is going up a notch and it really isn’t something you should miss.

For more information or to book your tickets, please visit Eleven Arches website http://www.elevenarches.org/

The Boys Are Back!

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The weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th March signalled the return of the male teams to the Kynren site, to begin training in preparation for 17 live shows during season 2.

This weekend was the start of my next journey, to witness ‘Kynren’ from a show team’s perspective.

First up was Combat training on the Saturday and Archery training on the Sunday.

If I am honest I was really looking forward to meeting up with all the volunteers again, some of who I hadn’t seen since the climax of the last show in season 1, and of course to meet new people, both new volunteers, and new teammates too.

As for the training, I was apprehensive, I knew it was going to be intense, certainly based on my capabilities, and maybe I’m too hard on myself, but it certainly isn’t as easy as the performers in the shows make it look to be.

Certainly more practice in both disciplines are needed as far as I’m concerned.

But thankfully and hopefully I will pick it up a lot quicker in the next training sessions which are tonight.

Today I’d like to talk about two elements of the show team, the first one is the training itself, without question, it’s second to none by some of the most talented trainers you could ever wish to meet.

But the training schedules each volunteer receives, from looking outside in last season, I knew they all worked tirelessly and put plenty of hours in to perfect the choreography for each scene, but even though I vividly remember this I can honestly say I didn’t take it all onboard at the time.

The training is intense, based on my schedule, which is very similar to a lot of teams in the show, training from now on is mainly twice a week for show team performers.

It takes a lot of dedication and commitment from each volunteer, remembering that’s what all of us are; Volunteers.

We all have various commitments, jobs, families, school, but we all come together because we do enjoy it and it’s an amazing project to be involved in.

Secondly, during that rehearsal weekend, what I noticed, and what I greatly appreciated was the support and the encouragement from the first season volunteers.

Each of them have been in exactly the same position as I and many new volunteers find themselves in now, and lots of advice and tips were presented to those who needed them most, mainly me.

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It’s always nice to return to the Kynren site, I’ve said it many times before, there’s something magical about the place, it has an ability to lift you, it improves your week, it gives you something to look forward too.

And having been an Archer from the start, there’s now definitely two elements of Kynren.

First, the shows which are outstanding, that believe me are just going to keep getting better and better, leaving every visitor with that wow effect.

But the second element of Kynren is the people involved, the hard working staff and the dedicated volunteers, between us we have created the spirit and the heartbeat of Kynren.

Another huge factor of why each volunteer chooses to share our time with the project.

Finally, a special thank you goes to the Cavalry Team, who kindly showed a number of volunteers around their stables, to meet some of the real stars of our show, our incredible horses, each with their individual characters; absolutely beautiful animals.

It was an interesting and insightful tour, especially to learn that each horse learns all of the show music so they know when to go in each scene.

Remarkable.

So with just over 15 weeks to go there is a lot going on, on site as well as an increase in the marketing of the shows too.

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From each Archer we hope we have the pleasure of your company this Summer and we can’t wait to welcome you all back to Kynren.

For more information or to book your tickets please visit the Eleven Arches website: http://www.elevenarches.org/