Rare 'Viking' chicks join the cast of spectacular Kynren living history show

Extremely rare 'Viking' chicks have become the newest cast members of an epic live theatre production celebrating 2,000 years of English history.

By Gary Welford
Monday, 13 May, 2019, 10:22
'Viking' Kevin Watts with the rare chicks which will become part of the story at Kynren, the spectacular live action show telling the story of 2,000 years of English history. Pic: North News.

The baby chickens, which are considered an Old World treasure and were originally bred by Vikings, will now take part in Kynren, an outdoor show telling the story of England over two millennia. The production's seven-and-a-half-acre stage in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, will now become a permanent home for the chicks, whose origins go back to the 9th century.They are so rare that research has shown the 'Viking' or Icelandic chicken is significantly different genetically to all other breeds worldwide, and the birds' DNA is 78% unique to the species.Icelandic chickens nearly became extinct in the 1950s with the advent of modern commercial chickens. Related: Meet the newest cast member of epic live-action show Kynren

All the birds alive today - estimated to be around 5,000 worldwide - are descended from a small group saved in the 1970s.The chicks fit right in, as the theme for Kynren's summer shows is the Year of the Viking.The birds were brought over as eggs from a specialist breeder in Germany and hatched out in incubators. Once they're old enough they will become permanent residents of Kynren's new walk-through Viking Village.The first chicks to hatch were welcomed by 'Viking' Kevin Watts, who plays one of the marauding Norsemen in the new show.They are part of a menagerie of animals featured in the show including 33 performance horses, donkeys, sheep, geese, goats and cows. Taking place every Saturday from June 29 to September 14*, "Kynren – an epic tale of England" is a multi-award-winning outdoor theatre show featuring a 1,000-strong cast and crew, performed on a gigantic stage.The show transports audiences back through time on a stunning journey through 2,000 years of English history and legend; from Boudicca and King Arthur to Queen Elizabeth I and the English Civil War on to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and both World Wars. Tickets are now available online at www.kynren.com. All tickets are sold on a first come, first served basis, so book early to secure the best seats.*No show on Saturday, August 3.

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There are only 5,000 of the 'Viking' chickens left in the world. These ones will become part of the permanent cast at Kynren. Pic: North News.