Kynren is a pageant, in its purest form, not a procession, but a theatrical performance, with many volunteers taking place. At the start of the 20th century it was a craze with hundreds of pageants taking place all over the country and abroad. The bigger ones had thousands of performers, just to get an image of their scale. I researched pageants for an assignment last year because I loved the idea of them.

When our teacher told us about Kynren I knew I had to book tickets. We went there on the first performance of the year, during the Jubilee celebrations. They are doing more events, so check their website for details on prices and see when Kynren is staged again.

Kynren stage

We got VIP tickets and I think they are really worth getting. The show tells the local (and not very local) history, in its past 2000 years. The event is for about 90 minutes. All the pageants had elements of mythology, history, religion and superstitions, all relating to the local community and its past. It was not unusual to see dragons, for example, or (King) Arthur, who made an appearance at Kynren too.

the event is starting

I was amazed by how well the event was organised. The story starts with Boudicca’s battles with the Romans, before the Vikings are coming, Tudors make an appearance with Elizabeth I and Shakespeare, before we see Charles I. Both world wars are enacted and there was a special and beautiful finale with what happened during the Majesty’s reign. Of course local history is mentioned again and again.

Enjoy the pictures.







At the end we got up and sang the national anthem, which I thought it was a lovely tribute for the Queen. I don’t know if this happens every time or it was because of the Jubilee. The youngest volunteer is only 5 or 6 and the oldest is in their 80s. I can’t emphasise enough how amazing it was. I would love to go again next year and see this representation again or another one organised by them.

Kynren is staged in Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

3 Comment

  1. This sounds (and looks!) so interesting! I don’t think we have anything even remotely like it around here. Before Covid, we had Chautauquas, but they aren’t anything elaborate like this. They just feature several speakers reenacting figures in history along a specific theme.
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    1. In early 1900s this trend started, of pageants. It became a verb, as middle-class people would ask each other if they “paged”. A historian described it as “pagentatis”, with so many people getting involved or attending. More trains were introduced for people wanting to see the events. It must have been amazing, apolitical and usually avoiding controversial subjects, these were made for celebrating local history.
      There were some in US, Canada, and Australia in the same period, but sadly this trend didn’t survive to this day, with Kynren and a couple more being exceptions.

      I wish there were more because it is spectacular, much better than theatre.

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