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French historical theme park to host Indian Cherokee show in the US

The world-renowned Puy du Fou park is exporting its expertise stateside as part of wider plans for international expansion

A performance and historical reenactment in the famous theme park Puy du Fou

Puy du Fou is world-renowned for its huge, spectacular historical performances Pic: Alexey Gorshenin / Shutterstock

French historical theme park Puy du Fou is set to host a show in the US in 2024, with a performance inspired by the history of the Cherokee people.

The Cherokee Indians are a Native American tribe. They are the largest tribe in the United States.

The park in Les Epesses (Pays de la Loire) usually hosts large historical enactments and performances on-site. It attracts more than two million visitors per year and is France’s most popular theme park after Disneyland Paris. It is known worldwide for its historical performance expertise.

Now, the managing company of the park is set to hold an immersive show in Tennessee in 2024. 

The performance will take place in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which attracts around 12 million people each year.

The president of Puy du Fou, Nicolas de Villiers, told Capital that the show has been instigated by Cherokee people in the US, and that they had made an “investment of several tens of millions of dollars” into the project. 

He said: “Our partner in the United States is the Eastern Cherokee. They asked us to form a partnership and we have done so. In the United States, we had looked for partners that would be compatible with what we are, and the Cherokee reached out to us and suggested that we all do a big show on American soil.”

The show is set to be an homage to the Cherokee soldiers of World War One, who, in 1917, voluntarily joined the US war effort.

The plot will follow the story of a young Cherokee man from the American Appalachians to the battlefields of Champagne in France. Cherokee soldiers were represented in large numbers among the 17,000 indigenous people who fought for the US during the Great War.

The show is part of Puy du Fou’s plans for international expansion. It has already performed shows in the Netherlands and the UK, and also opened its first park outside of France in 2021, in Spain.

Read more: French 'world's best' theme park opens site in Spain 

The UK show was a nocturnal performance dubbed ‘Kynren - An Epic Tale of England’, and it took place in front of Auckland Castle, in the northeast of the country. Its plot spanned 2,000 years of English history.

Mr de Villiers said that he is planning to open two new sites internationally by 2030, and is already set to open a site in Shanghai, China, in 2025. 

Puy du Fou opened in the late 1970s after Philippe de Villiers, the current president’s father, imagined an artistic performance centre for hosting historical shows. 

In 40 years, the park has become an internationally-renowned expert on such types of shows, and is inspired by history from the Middle Ages to World War Two.

It is now also an entertainment complex as well as a performance centre.

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