Work has begun at Eleven Arches, the £27m open air spectacular which will open next year in Bishop Auckland. The night show will take visitors through 2,000 years of British history.
Construction machinery has moved onto the site for the first time, with work to take place on access, the arena and lakes.
The project was launched last April with inspiration taken from Puy do Fou near Nantes in France. Plans for the Eleven Arches were approved in June this year.
“We have 900 people that have signed up to be volunteers,” explained Damien Boissinot, Project Director.
“We need not only people on stage but also to welcome the visitors, ushers for the grandstand and all the services that are important for the visitors’ experience. We will have divers and horse-riders, which requires a lot of skills.”
An academy is also planned to ensure a mix of skills for the coming years. Training will begin in October with rehearsals set to start next May.
“We are a night show and something to do in the evening and night. During the day we really want to encourage people certainly to visit Auckland Castle and the town itself,” said Claire Byers, Director of Communications at Eleven Arches.
Tickets will go on sale in November with shows playing to an 8,000 seat stadium every night. Shows will run through July, August and September.
The venue is surrounded by the River Wear with views of Auckland Castle and the viaduct between Bishop Auckland and Toronto.