Tag Archives: ElevenArches

This season will be my last…

Everybody that has ever signed up for Kynren has a completely different story to tell, very much like it is for every visitor who has attended a show.

We are all associated to the same project but we see completely different things and take away from the experience something completely different.

For me, I started my Kynren journey to give back towards my town of Bishop Auckland.

I’m a firm believer that if you want anything to prosper, you must first put the hard work in first, and I’m proud that I have played my part in doing just that.

What transpired was a genuine love for the project, the opportunities to step right out of my comfort zone, from a step to an almighty leap at times too.

To test myself, to be shown within my character that I’m capable of far more than I ever gave myself credit for.

To find a passion, to be passionate, to find a confidence that can now never wane, knowing that we are all capable of anything we want and are willing to work hard for.

Kynren taught me to try.

And through trying and having a go I’ve changed my whole life in just 4 years.

Looking back I’m unrecognisable to the person I am today.

The passions I have developed and worked on to hone my skills and keep pushing my own boundaries have helped me to grow.

For that alongside many other different reasons I’ll always be truly grateful to a project that is like none other.

Kynren for many is an outdoor open-air theatre telling a story based on 2000 years of British history.

Many reviews have captured the attention of thousands of visitors drawing words of “incredible” “amazing” “wow”.

And I have to agree with them, because Kynren is all of them words and many more.

Seeing truly is believing.

But Kynren for me will always be so much more than just a show.

For me, it will be always about a project.

It will always be about the people.

Us Archers!

Kynren has also brought me to writing, someone said to me earlier in the week they thought I had studied it, they thought I had been writing my whole life.

But no, only since March 2016 and since then I have achieved so much, not only with this Kynren blog, but through it, it has taken me onto so many different opportunities that I have reached out for.

So back to the title of today’s article;

‘This season will be my last…’

It will be.

In cast team 7 that is.

I’ve decided to revert back to my original plan.

4 years ago starting out in the Experience Team and writing this blog, I wanted to go from team to team each season and write about my experiences on what it was like.

I wanted to see Kynren from a completely different perspective each season and while doing so completely see and understand how Kynren is put together and the roles each person undertakes to make Kynren a truly world class attraction.

This season, I decided I needed some stability and stayed in the cast in team 7, despite an uncertain start, having yo-yo’d myself into this season.

In, out, and then back in again.

I truly can’t thank my teammates enough, this year, last year and the Experience team before them.

Through their support I have developed, and in doing so learnt so much about myself.

But after 4 more shows this summer, it’s time for a change.

I have an idea of where I’m likely to apply for next summer, but lots of time to think about it too.

Kynren for me has been a game changer, without it I wouldn’t have the life I lead now.

Each and every opportunity I’m involved with now has stemmed from this project.

I found out who I was and who I’m meant to be, and that’s why I’ll always keep coming back for more.

There are only 4 more shows left this summer, if you are looking to see something truly memorable, Kynren is definitely for you.

For more information or to book tickets please visit Kynren’s website:

http://kynren.com/tickets

To read more about Kynren and what it is like to be a part of the cast and crew on the project, please visit the Kynren Blog Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/Kynren-Blog/

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What a difference a week makes.

This time last week I penned another article recording my own personal journey throughout Kynren.

It was a slight undertone of determination and anticipation of what was to come.

As written, my last show before then wasn’t my best, it was actually probably my worst.

So with trepidation heading into last week’s show I was hoping nerves wouldn’t engulf me as I somewhat disappointedly let them the week prior.

As the image of today’s update shows, a better day always comes, and with it, from my first scene to the last it turned into one of my best.

From the moment my flaming arrow projected high into the night sky to my final bow standing amongst hundreds of talented Archers, I left that stage for my final time knowing that this performance went the way it always should.

Leading on to today, I’m in high spirits, chilled out and relaxed and ready to go and play my part in making Kynren everything that it is.

For my team, team 7, last night we learnt for the first time prior to arriving each show night which roles we will be undertaking.

So heading into tonight’s performance I have a definite giddy excitement, maybe knowing your roles upfront gives you a mental edge to run through your choreography in your mind first, along with the sequencing too.

Maybe it could of made me feel anxious too, but I feel good and I feel relaxed knowing what I need to do.

Although, guaranteed stage side waiting to come on for my first scene they’ll be nerves, because I always get nervous.

But through the nerves there is always a determination to succeed or at least get through it and then onto my next scene.

For us, all Archers, the night flies by within a blink of an eye.

You line up awaiting your first scene and then it’s manic back stage, hundreds of people going in different directions and numerous costume changes, and before you know it, you’ll be lining up for our finale.

Tonight I’m in four roles, one of them being ‘The Scots Are Coming’, it’s one of the most iconic scenes within Kynren and certainly for team 7 one of our most challenging.

From Pennant Knights and walking on water, to flaming drummers straight into our fighting scene, it certainly gets the blood pumping in anticipation and once you come off stage, that buzz of adrenaline will see you home for the rest of the night.

Tonight is the first time this season I will be in this role, the funny and surprising thing is, it’s actually a year ago this week that I was cast in this scene for the very first time period.

I remember it well.

My heart was pounding so hard by the end of it I felt I couldn’t breathe, what an absolute rush!

Looking back on last season and even now, any scene with fire feels so surreal.

Tonight will be no different, I’ll come off stage and think, did I really just do that.

It’s incredible the things we do and are trusted to deliver.

How do we do it?

We trust in ourselves and the support of the people around us, and when all the many hours of training kick in, you simply just go and do what we are here to do.

Entertain!

Tonight, weather wise isn’t ideal, not for the visitors coming to watch, nor for the Archers who will be carrying out their various roles and tasks.

But as shows go, I’m a firm believer that Kynren is marginally better in the rain and with so much going on you’ll be distracted by the conditions.

Your eyes are in for a feast of entertainment, so much so, you’ll not want it to end.

For more information or to book tickets please visit Kynren’s website:

http://kynren.com/tickets

To read more about Kynren and what it is like to be a part of the cast and crew on the project, please visit the Kynren Blog Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/Kynren-Blog/

What Makes Me Proud?

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When you talk about Kynren, and believe me as volunteers we talk about it a lot, it’s because we are so proud of the project and of our own personal achievements.

But what stands out for me is without any question, it’s the people.

After the first successful season and now gearing up for season 2, the only questions that should be asked is;

‘What is Kynren?’

‘And what does it mean to you?’

For me Kynren is many things, I mentioned this without going into detail yesterday.

Yes it’s a fantastic, tremendous, outstanding show, with many other words that can describe and express how it makes you feel.

And all that have witnessed it have done.

But for me, Kynren – An Epic Tale of England, only tells half the tale.

There’s no doubting it’s an utterly impressive live outdoor show that is unique to the UK, but bearing in mind each performance has been delivered by a 1000 volunteers, and added by a few hundred more in high anticipation of Season 2.

Each of these people have come together for many personal reasons and stories that I hope to share with you throughout this year.

But these are just regular people, who have come together to give back, to volunteer their time to help improve their town, or surrounding areas.

Some have hobbies or common interests in acting or dancing, some have wanted to take on a new challenge or had wanted to welcome all the visitors to the area.

The Archers all have lives, they work, they go to school, they are part of families, they each have responsibilities, or other interests outside of this amazing project, but you can’t help coming back for more and more.

Each of these people, are what makes me feel proud when someone asks about Kynren.

The show is incredible, but the people, I’m speechless when I talk about them, they make me so proud, and in turn they make me feel proud as I was one of them too.

You only have to look at the children and the teenagers to know how great this project is, to have been fortunate to watch each of them grow in confidence from their first rehearsals to the end of an award winning first season.

They make me proud, these are the next generation of volunteers and performers that will continue to drive Kynren on to new bounds.

It prompted a question that I asked myself several weeks ago.

‘What must it be like to be a teenager right now?’

Kynren is providing so many opportunities to learn, to discover new interests and passions that you may never knew existed in your being.

I know it has literally done that for me, writing makes me feel alive.

But if Kynren was here when I was a teenager? What would I be doing? What role would I take part in? Would I have the confidence at all to take part?

I’d like to think I would be, I know for certain just looking at the volunteers of all ages it would have brought me on leaps and bounds, just as it has done for many of the kids and young adults too.

For me, it has challenged me to become resourceful, to care more, to stand up and be counted when it really mattered, and never be afraid to show your passion.

If you dream it, you can do it.

To have something so special on your doorstep, that no one else in the UK has, that the trust of deliverance has been put in the hands of volunteers, rather than seasoned professionals, and the opportunity for the town of Bishop Auckland has been equally matched by Jonathan Ruffer and by Kynren, is another reason to make you feel proud and honoured to be a part of it.

It’s going to be a strange feeling not going to be there from now on, to not be a part of the action, a part of the camaraderie, to miss out on well… just not being there.

But Kynren is in safe hands, and that’s because Kynren is a community project, and no matter what, it always will be.

When you attend this Summer, yes enjoy the show, it will be like something you will never of seen before, and if you were here last year, that includes you too.

Enjoy the scenery, the rolling landscapes that Kynren sits besides, look at the amazing wild flowers on the walk into the site.

But don’t forget to look at the people, the volunteers, the Archers, because when you look and take notice, you’ll realise that they are Kynren, the real Kynren.

The heartbeat to the whole project.

To book your tickets for one of the 17 live, action packed shows please visit the Eleven Arches website here: http://www.elevenarches.org/

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/

 

 

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/