Kynren – the most amazing outdoor theatre experience in the UK

Kynren – the most amazing outdoor theatre experience in the UK
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We have been fortunate enough to go and see Kynren twice. We reviewed it back in 2021 and we leapt at the opportunity to go back this year. Kynren really is a phenomenal experience.

What is Kynren?

Kynren is an outdoor production which tells a 2000 year history of England. In 90 minutes you are taken on an epic journey through time. Kynren is not like your average outdoor theatre trip – everything about this experience is extraordinary. From the staging, special effects, casting and music.

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The stage is actually a vast area including a lake, hills and various houses. The tribune seats 8,000 people in the audience. The cast and crew are 1,000 people strong and are mainly an army of enthusiastic local volunteers, aged from 5 to 88 years old! There are pyrotechnics, stunts, fireworks and animals in this production. There’s dancing and acting of course – but there’s also stunt fighting including fire, swords and horses.

There are many different entrances onto the stage, including concealed ones that will have you gasping, often there are cast members entering from multiple places at once, all clad in amazing costumes, making it an absolute feast for the eyes. 

It really is a show like no other – everything about the scale of it is ambitious and impressive.

Kynren – the most amazing outdoor theatre experience in the UK

Is Kynren family friendly?

100%

We took all three of our children (aged 9, 7 and 4) and they absolutely loved it and were transfixed right till the very end (which was a 10.15pm finish).

While the show doesn’t shy away from real history (there was a beheading, a viking raid and a mining explosion, for example) yet each scene is done tastefully and without too much peril. For example, the First World War is explored through the Christmas Day Truce, and the Second World War through a stirring speech by Winston Churchill. There is enough content to emotionally provoke you, but overall, the production is uplifting and a celebration of British history.

The music and voiceovers are loud, and towards the end of the show there are loud bangs and fireworks. We took ear defenders with us for our youngest children and they worked a treat.

As far as I’m aware there aren’t any booster seats for children so you may wish to bring a cushion along with you (that would also keep you warm as the night goes on and the temperature drops).

Kynren details

The show runs every Saturday night from 29th July till 9th September and has never been cancelled due to weather conditions, the show must go on! Make sure you bring waterproofs and dress warmly.

Check online for the exact timings as they get earlier in the evening as the daylight hours decrease.

Tickets for Kynren start from:

Free for children under 4 (they must sit on an adult’s knee)

£17 for children (4-17)

£29 for adults

Save 25% off standard plus seats if you buy 4 or more tickets using their family saver deal

This year we got the joy of sitting in the VIP seats – if your budget allows then they are worth splashing out on. They are right in the centre of the tribune, giving you an amazing view of all the action, and they are also more spacious and padded – our bottoms were very pleased.

VIP tickets cost £51 for children and £61 for adults.

The closer you can get to the stage the better – you might even be able to feel the breeze of a horse cantering past you if you get really close.

Park & Ride at Kynren

As you can imagine, getting 8,000 people to the tribune to watch the show is quite a logistical undertaking. That means that unless you live locally or arrive to Bishop Auckland by public transport, you will most likely need to use their park and ride.

It costs £7 for standard car parking and £3 per passenger for the shuttle buses. 

We found using the park and ride to be straight forward. We only had to wait for around 5 minutes to get on our bus.

11 Arches

The 11 Arches is the location of Kynren, there are landscaped gardens, dancing water fountains and several eateries and bars. We found the food to be reasonably priced. As an example from the Food Court Menu, chips cost £2, Greek Salad £5 and Ice Cream £3.

Make sure to get your food in good time though, as food is not permitted in the tribune.

Kynren – the most amazing outdoor theatre experience in the UK

Final thought on Kynren

If you’re still uncertain about whether you should see Kynren then let me just say, that not only have we seen it twice and would love to see it again – but that next year we are even considering joining the cast ourselves!

With our eldest son leading the way – we made enquiries into joining the Kynren team and were met with such enthusiasm, that Dad and I might even sign up too – because after all, who doesn’t want to have a chance to play a Suffragette, a Spice Girl or perhaps even Queen Victoria? Actually I’m not sure Dad does fancy that – but he might be persuaded to fire a flaming arrow across the stage. Beyond the impressiveness and vast scale of Kynren the really compelling thing is this – the cast are just ordinary people, it could be me or it could be you.

Which really is the heart of the show. “Kynren” means generation, kin or family – and if you’re British then this is your story too.

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Cathy who is married to Scott and has three lively little'uns. Aged 9, 7 and 5.

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