Urbanebloc-sters! Need a date night idea? We just might have one for you…wait for it… The Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament! Yes- the popular, tourist-y, knights, horses, and dinner attraction. For those of you who have checked it out before, this is the very first time the company has revealed a new show since 2007, so it’ll be a chance to check-out the revamped show. The new live production still has the crowd pleasing- live jousts, sword fights, horsemanship and falconry, but with new story, choreography, costumes and much much more!
Having checked-out the Medieval Times last year (before the revamp), I was eager to talk to the Creative Director for The Medieval Times, Leigh Cordner and find out what’s changed, and to learn a bit more about his cool time-travelling role.
Question: Tell us a bit about what you do. What does it mean to be a Creative Director for a show like The Medieval Times?
Leigh Cordner: As creative director I envision what we can accomplish with the resources we have at hand, and try to incorporate new technology and devices to keep the audience entertained. In addition, I work very closely with our composer (Daniel May) on the score for each new show and help unify the musical, vocal, and choreographed elements to present a seamless experience.
Q: What’s it like travelling back in time every night to put on such an epic show?
LC: Medieval times is fairly unique in its’ position as a show rooted to a particular time period. While we aren’t middle age ‘purists’ – (and recognize the need for air-conditioning and state-of-the-art lighting) we do try and keep the experience of the show itself authentic. Each act, spoken line, and choice of weapons is carefully thought out and executed with some research by myself and the other directors to keep the show in the ‘believable’ realm.
Q: Medieval Times has been around since…the Medieval ages! How do you keep your content fresh and exciting?
LC: It is a challenge. With each new show we are tasked with freshening up a product, but also tasked with maintaining the shows’ signature look and feel. Returning customers, and those aware of the companys’ product (yet first time visitors) have an expectation of the action, the drama, and the excitement of the medieval times experience…..so while we find new ways to present our show, we are always mindful of not changing it so much as to alter expectations.
Q: The costumes, hair, and props are all so fun and authentic. Tell us about the sets, wardrobe, and behind the scenes team?
LC: Like our efforts with the music, which is written exclusively for us and recorded (thus far) in Prague (twice) and this new show (in Kiev) – the costuming is an entirely ‘in-house’ project. Myself, along with the stunt choreographer, our president, and our head of costuming, all collaborate on designs for each new show. Dozens of mock-ups are produced for each key character and then modified through a process of trial and error until we have a design that is both beautiful and (in the case of knights and horse wardrobe) functional. During each performance, a technical staff of six is running state-of-the-art light and sound systems, as well as spotlights. Each performer in the show is responsible (like any stage production) for hitting ‘marks’ in the arena, and ‘cues’ in the music. Backstage, there is a cyclone of activity as almost a dozen costume changes are performed between acts, and some horses may wear as many as six different sets of accouterments.
Q: I went to Medieval Times last year on a date and the time before that, I had went with my family when I was 8. It was amazing both times. How do you keep it fresh and new for all ages?
Like Cirque, Disney, or a visit to see a symphony orchestra, the experience has to remain universal – for the most part, taking into consideration the wide variety of ages, backgrounds, and places of origin. When the show is enjoyable to almost everyone inside the parameters, I think we are keeping it fresh. Even for guests who do not speak English, the action, the color identification from the section to the knight, the music, they all assist in ensuring an entertaining experience.
Q: What’s the best part about working for Medieval Times?
Recognizing and appreciating the growth and prestige the company has undergone in the more than 25 years I have been a part of the organization, leading to both appreciation and respect from our customers and our peers in the entertainment industry.
Thank you so much for speaking with us Leigh! We look forward to travelling back to The Medieval Times again soon!
For more information and tickets to the show you can check it out right here.