Eleven Arches, Bishop Auckland

Client: Caddick Construction

Value: £1.4m
Location: Bishop Auckland
Contract Period: 30 weeks
Contract Type: Bespoke


During the summer of 2016 this former golf course, situated in a South Durham loop of the River Wear and overlooked by Auckland Castle, became Eleven Arches - the most ambitious outdoor theatre construction project ever seen in County Durham.

Inspired by the Puy de Fou medieval theme park in north-west France, this outdoor theatrical spectacular hosted performances across the summer depicting the history of the UK, seen through the eyes of the North-East.

The shows centred around a 3,462m² man-made lake and castle backdrop. Pyrotechnics, spectacular water and light effects, a cast and crew of 1,000 along with permanently stabled trained horses from France, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Czech Republic entertained audiences over the 14 shows in 2016.

The civil engineering works required to transform this 7.5 acre site into a fantasy are amongst the most unusual projects we have supported Caddick Construction on in the last few years. Deep underground concrete bunkers were built to hide equipment behind the hydraulic special effects and a tribune seating area was constructed to hold 8,000 people. Stables and other buildings were required to permanently house the horses and store the carriages, carts, boats and floats. A visitor village was also constructed to house all the facilities expected by an 8,000-strong public.

Scope of works

  • Insitu concrete foundations to installations of various complexity
  • Surface and foul water drainage
  • Provision of extensive duct banks and duct chambers
  • General infrastructure provision

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