The Kingdom 2023 review: A different event in a SAG strike era

The Kingdom 2023 -- Courtesy of Alexandria Ingham
The Kingdom 2023 -- Courtesy of Alexandria Ingham /

The Kingdom 2023 took place over Labor Day Weekend, and there were a few very different elements to it. It was all about SAG strike rules to follow.

When the SAG-AFTRA union called for the strike in July, there were a lot of questions about fan events. What would it mean for actors as they aren’t allowed to promote their shows during the strike. That included talking about the shows at fan conventions. We’ve all seen Stephen Amell and Zachary Levi get in some bother for their comments about the strike.

However, The Last Kingdom wasn’t a SAG show. Didn’t that mean rules wouldn’t apply to them? While that is sort of the case, a lot of actors from around the world are standing with SAG out of respect and solidarity. Some of The Last Kingdom actors are SAG members due to other projects. With all this in mind, The Kingdom 2023 was a very different event to the ones that we’re used to.

And that wasn’t a bad thing.

More in the moment during the panels

You’ll see that I got photos. It’s slightly different going to an event as press. Photos and tweeting is what I’m there to do to help promote the event itself. However, nobody else was allowed their phones during the panels.

This prevented photos, videos (which aren’t allowed at Sasnak City events anyway), tweeting, and more during the panels. In a way, I think it made the event so much better. As I talked to other attendees, I saw how much more engaged they were with the panels. Everyone was so much more in the moment in a way that I miss about the days before cell phones became an extra appendage to us.

In a way, I’d love to see this for more events. Go into them without taking photos. Rely on the official photographs of the events to catch moments—Sasnak City has one and she is wonderful at capturing the best moments. I would like to see this change moving forward even without the SAG rules, although I’m sure there are so many others who would argue against me about that.

Learning more about the actors as people at The Kingdom 2023

Something else that I really loved about the SAG rules is that the questions were skewed away from the TV series itself. We couldn’t ask questions about The Last Kingdom or the characters. We could ask questions about acting in general.

This opened things up to some very different questions. There were ones about favorite music and binge-able TV shows, and there were questions about James’s photography and Eliza’s amazing ability to make the sound of a crying baby without even looking like it’s her—by the way, that skill was used in The Last Kingdom as I found out last year. In Season 2, Baby Edward is crying but it’s not the baby; it’s Eliza!

One of the best questions was about weird food combinations. We got to find out that Toby loved marshmallows and toast grilled together, and that Timothy loves peanut butter and avocado sandwiches. These are now things that a lot of attendees are going to try when they get home.

A calm and well-organized event

If you went to The Gathering 2019, you’ll know the chaos that some of that was. One of the things I adore about Gina Phipps-Hubbell is that she looks at the event, takes notes, and reworks things. That has all led to a calm event, and The Kingdom 2023 was excellent.

In fact, things ran so well that by Sunday, most people had everything that they’d bought or was included in their tiers. There were the odd items here and there, but it made getting those things so much easier for everyone. Attendees were able to enjoy the pop-up panels and take a look around at the vendors. They were able to chat with friends, and just enjoy the overall event much more.

I know there are times of panic for first-time members. The initial long line-up for autographs is stressful. It’s easy for people to panic that they’ll be missed. The Sasnak City team doesn’t allow that to happen, though. Alicia, who ran the schedule for The Kingdom 2023, made sure that anyone who didn’t get something got it. There was a time constraint on Cavan’s things, but everyone else was there for the whole event. All attendees had to do was listen to announcements—and if you’re answering a question, make sure it’s just the question as usually the other part of your answer is for a question that comes up later…one thing at a time, people!

This was an event with a few added things in, such as James’s Polaroids, but nothing felt rushed or panicked. And I was the one running around from A to B to make sure I did my job while getting everyone to their Meet & Greets!

dark. Next. What happened at Flame Bearer Desserts at The Kingdom 2023

Stay tuned with Sasnak City to learn more about future events.