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Donkey foal arrives during rehearsal for ‘epic’ performance

Britain’s largest outdoor theatre show gained a new cast member when a donkey foal was born in the middle of rehearsals.

The huge, 7.5 acre set of Kynren, based at Bishop Auckland, Country Durham, hosts more than 1,000 cast members, and has pre-show attractions including a Viking village and animal croft.

The foal entered the world with perfect timing, making a grand entrance during the first full run through of this year’s show.

Anna Warnecke, director of cavalry and estates, said: “We had been expecting mum Matilda to give birth for a few days but the foal definitely demonstrated perfect dramatic timing by arriving right in the middle of the first full rehearsals.

“Both mother and baby are doing really well and we’re already looking at how we can include her in this year’s performances of Kynren as she’s clearly got star potential.”

Kynren tells an “epic story of the history of England”, including invasions, “royal splendour”, “heroic sacrifice” and daily life across the ages, with equestrian performances forming a central part of the action.

Alongside the donkeys, Anna and her team look after a cast of 33 horses, all of which are grey to make sure they stand out in the show, which takes place at night.

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While they may all have matching coats, the cast incorporates a range of uncommon breeds from around the world including Lusitanos, Percherons, Wielkopolskis and Kladrubers.

Kynren is produced by registered charity Eleven Arches, and has a cast and crew ranging in age from five to 82 years, who work together to bring the story of England’s history to life. The show has been running since 2016 and this year’s performances will take place from June 29 to September 14

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