Photography of the 2019 edition of Kynren at Bishop Auckland

Stuart Forster heads into County Durham to photograph at the 2019 edition of Kynren at Bishop Auckland.

The press preview of the 2019 edition of Kynren was held at Bishop Auckland in County Durham on 15 June. I was there and had an opportunity to photograph the outdoor spectacle billed as ‘an epic tale of England’.

Disclosure: Stuart was invited to attend Kynren as a member of the press.

A union jack is paraded by the full cast beneath a light show at the finale of Kynren

Light show during the final scene of Kynren.

Kynren performances in 2019

The first of 11 public performances of Kynren takes place on 29 June. The shows take place each Saturday evening until 14 September with the exception of 3 August. 

Chimneys and coal mining is depicted during a performance of Kynren at Bishop Auckland

Scene depicting chimneys belching smoke, pit wheels and coal mining during the Industrial Revolution.

As many as 1,000 residents of Bishop Auckland and the surrounding area volunteer their time so that Kynren can be staged.

Fireworks burn red in the night sky during a scene from Kynren at Bishop Auckland

Fireworks light the night sky during Kynren.

Many don costumes and play roles. Yet in addition to the performers, 21 other teams are needed to stage the event, including divers, stewards and animal handlers.

Lights shine into the sky during 'Kynren: an epic tale of England'

Lights shine into the night sky during Kynren.

I was impressed by the positive attitude of the volunteers in the car park and on the gate, checking bags and tickets. 

Scene depicting the fight for women's suffrage in Britain during a performance of Kynren

Scene depicting a women from the Suffragette movement during Kynren.

The tribune at Flatts Farm holds 8,000 spectators. 450 people were present during the press preview.

Geese are herded across the set during Kynren, depicting a rustic Georgian scene

A rustic scene from Georgian times, including geese being herded.

Low light photography

The show got underway shortly before dusk. From the perspective of photography, that posed the challenge of photographing in low light.

A character emerges from a gate in time for the English Civil War during a performance of Kynren

Scene depicting the English Civil War during Kynren.

On the other hand, the lighting ensured that colourful costumes stood out.

A performer plays the role of William the Conqueror, following the Norman Conquest, during Kynren in Bishop Auckland

Performer playing Bishop Bek of Durham.

It also enabled images to be projected onto water. A film was sprayed upwards from the lake that forms part of the vast set.

A painting commissioned by the Bishop of Durham is projected onto a film of water during Kynren

A painting commissioned by a Bishop of Durham is projected onto water during Kynren.

Normally photography is prohibited during performances of Kynren. That makes sense as it means onlookers can concentrate on the spectacle without being distracted by the glare of fellow spectators’ smartphones or people moving about to grab that ‘perfect’ shot.

Poppies are projected during a scene depicting the fighting of World War One in Kynren

Shots of a different kind…a scene depicting the Western Front during World War One.

One challenge that I didn’t expect to encounter during the press preview was other photographers moving about during the performance. At times they inadvertently got into my frame.

A scene depicting fighting between Saxons and Normans at the Battle of Hastings during a performance of Kynren

Scene depicting fighting between the Saxons and Normans at the Battle of Hastings.

My position up in the tribune made it tricky to freeze the action of horses galloping in front of the grandstand. I’d have preferred to be down low for those shots, but my position allowed me to capture much of the action effectively.

A white horse in a scene depicting the Roman Invasion of Britain during Kynren

A more sedately moving horse during a scene depicting the Roman invasion of Britain.

A synopsis of Kynren

The story of Kynren tells how a boy named Arthur travels back in time to see key moments from English history unfold.

The character Young Arthur meets Old Arthur at the beginning of Kynren

Young Arthur meets Old Arthur at the beginning of Kynren.

The means being on hand to view events such as the Roman Army marching into the land named Britannia, the arrival of the Vikings from Scandinavia and the Norman conquest.

White horses participate in the parade of Romans entering Britannia during a performance of Kynren

The Roman Army marches into Britain.

A Viking village has been erected behind a palisade close to the tribune.

Women in Viking costumes tend horses at the Viking Village at Kynren

Woman tending horses in the Viking village.

It depicts aspects of everyday life for Norse folk who settled in England.

Women in Viking era costumes at Kynren's Viking Village

Woman gather wool at the Viking village.

Visitors have an opportunity to get up close and see performers in Viking costumes.

Men playing the role of Vikings in the Viking Village at Kyrnen

Men playing the role of Vikings in the Viking village.

The village is a new addition to Kynren for 2019.

Men playing Vikings form a shield wall and look fierce in the Viking Village at Kynren

Men playing the role of Vikings form a shield wall.

Characters such as King Henry VIII, Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria make appearances.

King Henry VIII of England and King Francis I of France meet at the Field of the Cloth of Gold during Kynren

Scene depicting the meeting of Kings Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France at the Field of the Cloth of Gold.

Pyrotechnics ensured I had to stay alert to get the best shots possible.

Pyrotechnics shoot a jet of fire into the evening sky during a performance of Kynren

Pyrotechnics shoot a jet of fire into the evening sky.

So too did the spectacular emergence of a Viking longboat. I won’t give away any spoilers as to how that happened.

A Viking longship emerges during a performance of Kynren

A long boat emerges during a scene depicting the Viking invasion of Britain.

Kynren impressed me as a spectacle and concluded with a memorable fireworks display. If you’re planning a visit during 2019, you’ve got a treat ahead of you.

The cast parades a union jack beneath fireworks and a light show during the finale of Kynren

The cast gathers under fireworks during the final scene of Kynren.

Useful information

Find out more about the show and ticket availability on the Kynren website.

Bishop Auckland is approximately 10 miles southeast of Durham City. See the This is Durham website for information the town and other destinations in County Durham.

Why Eye Photography is based in North East England and available for commissions. Call 07947 587136 or email stuart@whyeyephotography.com to discuss your photography requirements.

You can also view photos from the 2018 Tall Ships Race in Sunderland, the Durham Miners’ Gala and Great Exhibition of the North on this website.

Photography from the 2019 Press Preview of Kynren from whyeyephotography.com

Use Pinterest? Pin this to return to view images from the 2019 press preview of Kynren in Bishop Auckland.

 

This entry was posted in Event Photography and tagged , , , , , .

6 Comments

  1. Alison 19th June 2019 at 8:19 am #

    It is such an amazing show, you just never know where to look as so much is going on. The Viking village looks like a great addition for this year

    • Stuart Forster 21st June 2019 at 12:31 pm #

      I haven’t been in previous years, do don’t know how it was over the past three summers. It made a very positive impression this year.

  2. Kathryn Burrington 19th June 2019 at 2:31 pm #

    Goodness! What a spectacle. Great images of a tricky subject. I’d love to see this one day, although I’d be gutted not to be able to photograph it.I can understand the reasoning behind that though.

    • Stuart Forster 21st June 2019 at 12:30 pm #

      I think it makes sense. It really is a fabulous show to watch (even with a camera in hand)!

  3. Steven Carrington 7th October 2019 at 2:31 am #

    Kynren looks amazing!!! We need to head there in 2020.

    • Stuart Forster 7th October 2019 at 11:52 am #

      Enjoy your visit when you do make it to Kynren.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*