After a long train journey up to Darlington we were faced with a 40 min cab drive to Auckland castle in Durham. My assistant and I stepped out of the taxi and into a wind swept Durham. Ahead of us was the amazing castle with the adjoining chapel, (Europe’s biggest private chapel). The Castle also boasts of a collection of twelve paintings by Francisco de Zubarán. In 2013 a business man named Jonathan Ruffer dug deep and pulled out £15 million to help preserve the castle and paintings.
Mr Ruffer has now also made Auckland Castle the heart of an event about to start this summer that will hopefully attract people from all over the world. The show Kynren relies highly on local volunteers and is an open air event taking place on the 7.5 acre land adjacent to the castle, including 1000 volunteers as casts and crew and will have audiences of up to 8000 people. The show will cover over 2000 years of British history including Roman times, Viking invasions, Industrial Revolution and Second World War, with ships and steam train + + +. I was there during the preparation stages of this event and was impressed of the shear scale of it all. Horses were imported for the event, shields and costumes made, stages built, horse riders trained….. This is to be an enormous event that will hopefully breath a little more life into Durham and hopefully help educate the local volunteers and give some hope back into a district that is suffering from unemployment. This does bare a resemblance to the film Field of Dreams but taking Jonathan Ruffer’s history into account, I can only guess that it will be a huge success and what may seem slightly bonkers to most is actually a carefully calculated success story.