Tag Archives: ElevenArches

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/

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/

Communities

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Sometimes the hardest pieces of writing or blogging are the articles that matter the most to you.

To say I was delighted to find out on 2nd January that my blog was shortlisted for an award was an understatement, a complete surprise, a shock even.

When the UK Blogging Awards contacted me to write an article for their website of course I was delighted to be asked, who wouldn’t be? I feel as though it is a real honour for having the opportunity.

I wanted to base my article around the topic of my blog and hometown because essentially that is what my blog is about; ‘Kynren – An Epic Tale of England’, performed in my hometown of Bishop Auckland – one, or perhaps both, are a complete unknown for some.

After all that was the main reason for submitting my blog for nomination before the closing date of entry, I wanted the opportunity to highlight and hopefully gain further exposure of the Kynren project and showcase my town of Bishop Auckland too.

Bishop Auckland is currently a developing town, and it is going through a wave of transition with the arrival last summer of the debut season of Kynren, the first of many new developments being added to the regeneration.

Alongside Kynren, produced by Eleven Arches, its sister charity, Auckland Castle Trust, is also overseeing a major development of works in the town such as;

* Auckland Castle, which is undergoing a major renovation and restoration process. (Opening May 2018)

* The recent start of construction of a brand new Welcome Building, which incorporates a 15 metre high viewing tower that will give unsurpassed views across Auckland Park, Bishop Auckland town and the rural landscape beyond. (Opening early 2018)

These are just a couple of the programmed developments taking place, for more information on all of the planned developments please visit the Auckland Castle Trust website: http://www.aucklandcastle.org

‘For those that don’t know, what is ‘Kynren – An Epic Tale of England?’

It’s a 90-minute show made up of all volunteers, which takes each 8,000-strong audience on a visually stunning journey through 2,000 years of British history, myth and legend.

Crammed with special effects that bring the show’s scenes to life with thrilling visual impact, audiences will be transported from Roman times through to the Second World War, encountering Viking and Norman invasions, mediaeval feasts to the splendour of the Tudors, the Industrial Revolution and the Roaring Twenties along the way.

Launched by Eleven Arches in 2016, ‘Kynren – An Epic Tale of England’ is the UK’s only live action show.

The first season saw more than 100,000 people visit Bishop Auckland in County Durham to experience 2,000 years of British history, as seen through the eyes of the North East.

Season 2 starts from Saturday 1st July 2017 through the summer consisting of 17 performance dates. For more information please visit the Eleven Arches website: http://www.elevenarches.org

Eleven Arches is the vision of philanthropist and investment manager Jonathan Ruffer. Eleven Arches is one of two charities he has established in Bishop Auckland, the other is the Auckland Castle Trust.
Together, the aim of the charities is to establish Bishop Auckland as an international tourist destination, attracting visitors and investment, which will contribute to the fortune of the area and empower the community.

Lastly, I’d like to talk about the heading of this article ‘Communities.’

The Kynren project has created an opportunity for the town of Bishop Auckland and the volunteers have created a community; vibrant, supportive, caring and passionate, that will encourage future generations to come and become a part of the project and with it, help to create a new history for Bishop Auckland.

The blogging community in my short experience is no different; the UK Blogging Awards is the pinnacle event in the calendar, and one which attracts more and more submissions of entry year on year since it’s forming back in 2014, with over 2,400 blogs nominated this year.

This community offers help, support and guidance just like all communities do, keen to see others do well and better themselves and help this industry grow, and develop in which we are all now bonded too, with a common denominator that we are all here for the same reasons as we all enjoy what we do.

With Friday 21st April a mere 7 weeks away, a final note resides with each finalist, wishing you all the very best of luck during the awards ceremony in what should be a fantastic spectacle celebrating the very best of UK wide writers and bloggers.