VIKINGS will be taking over the UK’s biggest outdoor live theatre performance this summer.

Kynren – the epic tale of England – has chosen the theme for this year’s show as The Year of the Viking.

Based in Bishop Auckland, the 1,000-strong cast and crew has begun rehearsals for the outdoor performance, which takes audiences through 2,000 years of history through the eyes of Arthur, the son of a mining family.

The cast is already hard at work perfecting new stunts and choreography for the Viking scene, and new elements include a Viking longship burial, with Vikings on board, the kidnapping of a fisherwoman, with even more fiery effects and explosions.

For the first time, audiences will also be able to wander through an authentic recreation of a Viking village before the show, which includes a cookhouse complete with vegetable patch, a woodworker’s cottage built into the hillside and a working blacksmith’s forge producing chainmail.

The cavalry, led by Anna Warnecke, director of cavalry and estates, is made up of 33 performance horses that will take to the stage for the performances.

All the horses selected are grey, so they stand out when it gets dark, but the breeds vary and include Lusitanos, Percherons, Wielkopolskis and Kladrubers.

Kynren – an epic tale of England is produced by Eleven Arches, a registered charity whose objective is to produce a world-class historical show, underpinned by a foundation of an innovative and engaging arts, education and community development programme.

The cast and crew features 1,000 volunteers, with ages ranging from five to 82 years, working together with a world-class team of professionals.

Since its opening performance in 2016, Kynren is on track to bring half a million visitors to the North-East by 2020.

This year's shows take place on Saturdays between June 29 and September 14 except for August 3.

Tickets are now available online at

All tickets are sold on a first come first served basis.