Tag Archives: Training

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/

 

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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/

Season 2

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The build up to Season 2 is now well underway, since Friday, not only has a new promotional Kynren sign been installed at the entrance to the site, but each Archer has received emailed information on not only which team they will be participating in this Summer but rehearsal times and dates too.

Following on from my experience during Season 1, I knew the Show Team’s training schedules were quite intense, but now becoming a member of one of those teams, I can now fully appreciate just how intense it is.

Looking through my rehearsal schedule yesterday, at all the different roles, training days and the many hours that each person has to put in to be show ready, it did scare me if I’m honest.

The thoughts and realisation that this was going to be tough, and so it should be.

With the first show only just over 4 months away, the training does need to be intense, there is a lot to learn.

Am I capable?

They are the type of questions why we are all here, of course we are capable, I’m here to challenge myself, and the small bit of comfort I do have is, Season 1’s volunteers were exactly in this same position last Summer and each one pulled it off with magnificent effect.

This is a world class show, which each year is going to become bigger and better as it progresses.

And that isn’t just a comment from a volunteer either, with hope or ambition and looking ahead, I know, having been in the Experience Team during the debut season last year.

From that team’s vantage point, you have a role which is very interactive with the audience, you are their guides, their information point, that friendly smile, and welcoming arrival.

If you speak to any of these volunteers, they can tell you first hand on which locations each visitor has arrived from, UK wide to International shores, each one having many different stories to tell.

Kynren is already a World Class attraction, as Archers we need to be ready, we need to build on the successes that all involved in Season 1 provided.

And keep building for our future, for generations to come.

For me my training starts this Saturday, and Sunday, I told you it was intense.

I’m really looking forward to it, to learn from World Class trainers, developing new skills, new techniques, to learn more about my own capabilities and then to learn from the people who make Kynren all it is, the Archers.

I look forward to updating you more as the weeks progress, writing from a different angle of the project.

As for Season 2, I am Show Team 5.

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

Camp Kynren

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And so it starts all over again.

On Monday 13th February I attended the first volunteer group training session aptly named ‘Camp Kynren’ which will be run across the next couple of weeks in which all 1500 volunteers will attend.

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At this stage I’m not about to go into any real details and spoil it for the remaining volunteers who have yet to go, but what I will say it’s very informative and lots of fun.

I’ve mentioned many times before how special and how warm a feeling you have when you arrive back to the Kynren site, it just has this magic about itself that you can’t help but feel excited and smile both inwardly and outwardly.

Add that feeling with coming together with a large group of volunteers, some of which you know, some that incredibly you’re only meeting for the first time, and then making introductions with the brand new Archers that are keen and excited to join you on this incredible journey into Kynren, Season 2.

Season 2 has been a long time coming for many an Archer, most haven’t been back to the site since the tree planting day at the end last year, whilst some may not have even had an opportunity since the final show back in September.

It was a rollacoaster of a ride of a Summer, I definitely have the bug, and one I was keen to continue on.

This year as I mentioned in previous blogs I have moved from the Experience Team which has given me so much grounding and a great overall view of the Kynren project, where I worked alongside so many fantastic people and also had the amazing opportunity to meet, greet and speak to so many visitors to our shows.

It has been an amazing experience just to learn how Kynren has been received both from pre and post shows, it will long live as a special moment, one that I will relive through these blogs as a lasting memory.

So Good Luck to all the Experience Team heading into Season 2, each of you are a credit to each other and the project.

I will be very jealous of not being able to wear the famous red jacket but each time I see it will spark hundreds of memories, smiles and laughter in the process.

So, to the show team…

After Monday night I did have to question my sanity, after a brief exercise of co-ordination skills and movement I finally understood what all of my friends had been telling me for years.

I don’t have any 😄

Much work ahead for me, but one I’m looking forward too.

The performing, the standing ovations, they will be outstanding in their own right but it’s not everything that I’m looking forward too.

I’m looking forward to challenging myself, taking myself out of a slight personal comfort zone, adapting myself, learning new skills, and learning from the best, our choreographers and our first season Archers.

And one thing for certain is I’ll work myself hard, not just because that’s my way, because I now have a moral responsibility not just to myself but to all my fellow teammates right across the full project and to the paying visitors that come far and wide across every corner of the globe.

Throughout my blogs, the common denominator is the people, I’m proud of them all.

Without any of them we wouldn’t be where we are today, look back on what we all achieved, look onwards another 12 months and dare to dream, but in our cases live out the reality.

Kynren Season 2, is going to be Epic, we’d love you to be a part of it, there are 17 shows this year starting on Saturday 1st July running until Saturday 16th September.

For further information or to book your tickets please head over the Eleven Arches website here: http://www.elevenarches.org

 

 

 

General Rehearsal – 10th/11th June

During this weekend’s rehearsals it wasn’t just any typical weekend for the volunteers, as we all each received our “Golden Tickets” the privilege passes that Eleven Arches were kindly offering to let a partner of a member of your family or friend to attend the last General Rehearsal on Saturday 25th June. Exciting stuff.

For the Experience team there was even more news as our Kynren uniforms were ready for collection, beige cargo pants, a white t-shirt and a very cool red softshell jacket, we all look the business.

On the Saturday is was memorable for me, it was the first time i’d been able to sit and watch the show, not the full show, more like 90% of it, no pyrotechnics or fireworks but to see the talented show team act their way through the script and it was amazing, imagine how good its going to be when its the live shows, often referred to as “Epic” and I think it will be too.

On this particular night, watching from the tribune, it rained, not just a shower, it didn’t stop it just kept raining, all night. And you know what it was actually better that it was, from standing on our duties marshalling various areas of the site, it isn’t any fun, standing in the pouring rain should never be fun, but somehow down on that site it is, there isn’t anything you can do about it, but its how you deal with it, how they people around you in your teams deal with it, it then becomes fun.

As for the show it keeps going, and as there is so much going on, on that 7.5 acre stage you even soon forget that it is raining only really realising when your eyes suddenly see the rain in the lights.

The show is certainly worth a watch, not just once, several times, every time, no matter which seat you sit in you’ll a fantastic show, a show that you’ll be sat transfixed by something and missing something else.

When Eleven Arches described it as an Epic tale of England, they weren’t wrong.

On Sunday after the weekend’s rehearsals there no time for a chill day for some of the Experience team as it was our last session of the Circus training, lots of games and entertainment was had in preparation for us to welcome and entertain the visitors.

A particular highlight for me, was when I volunteered to be a guinea pig as the talented two trainers juggled bowling pins whilst I stood very still in the middle of them. It certainly was some experience as I could see them whizz millimetres from my face.

To learn more about the project please visit Eleven Arches website and Facebook pages.

https://elevenarches.org/

https://www.facebook.com/Elevenarches/?ref=ts&fref=ts

General Rehearsal Weekend

Over the weekend of Friday 6th to Sunday 8th May, the Kynren show brought together all of the volunteers, of varying teams and roles for the first General Rehearsal.

Lots of excitement built up heading into the weekend, everyone wanted to just be involved and see what the other teams have been learning over the long Winter months of training.

A community of over 1000 volunteers coming together to showcase what Kynren is going to become in the next couple of months is thrilling.

As I couldn’t make the Friday Rehearsal date I sat on the sidelines to hear how amazing it was from comments and updates from volunteers I know on the project, I was delighted for them, but envious too.

Saturday 7th came, I couldn’t wait if I was honest, up early, bag packed ready in preparation, there was one problem, I was too early to leave the house, I had time to kill but just wanted to go, to get stuck in with any tasks the team required me to do.

Today wasn’t just a General Rehearsal but it was also a Celebration on how far the project and the volunteers had come, with Eleven Arches holding a Celebratory Lunch on the site. I was already there before a lot of the volunteers were turning up for the lunch, as I was involved in varying duties on site, the buzz and excitement was unreal.

You hear the phase “time stands still” not on this site, “time flies when your having fun” is certainly more appropriate.

With what felt like minutes, hours had passed and it was time for me to leave briefly to head off site and attend another Let’s Circus Training session, working on our showman skills ready for welcoming all of the visitors to the shows.

After the training, we headed back onto site where not only we carried out some marshalling duties but we got to witness some of the amazing scenes right before our eyes, something tells me its going to be special and be the most talked about UK show from July onwards.

The cast have been clearly working hard, and they look amazing, really talented.

Having been on site from 10am it was a very long day when I left at around 10.30pm, tired, aching and not being able to take my smile from my face, building on team spirit and meeting new people too.

I couldn’t sleep, completely exhausted, but still couldn’t sleep, I was buzzing, I couldn’t switch off, I needed sleep as I was on site again for 9.30am, but nothing worked until finally I drifted off.

Sunday morning came, bright sunshine, and although I only had a few hours sleep, I was wide awake at 6am. Wide awake at 6am on a Sunday morning? Seriously?

And of that fact, again I couldn’t wait to go back, its a feeling that all of the volunteers are having, the Kynren site is our second home, or it will be once the remaining Construction works are complete.

It’s a special place, once your on site, certainly as a local you can see all of the landmarks, Auckland Castle, the Viaduct etc, but it just feels different, it feels as though you are somewhere else, it feels special, as it is special.

To learn more about the project please visit Eleven Arches website and Facebook pages.

https://elevenarches.org/

https://www.facebook.com/Elevenarches/?ref=ts&fref=ts