Sheffield Theatres’ KES REIMAGINED

This sounds intriguing. Described as a ‘a family-friendly Kes to rival War Horse’, this celebrated retelling of a modern classic is available to watch internationally for the first time. The story of boy and bird – as originally told by Barry Hines in his novel, then Ken Loach in his unforgettable film – is retold in Jonathan Watkins’ work through dance, music and puppetry.

Set in a Yorkshire mining community, this film takes audiences on a journey with Billy Casper and his family. The young working-class boy, so troubled at home and at school, finds solace when he finds and trains a kestrel.  As the beloved Kes swoops and spins in the expansive freedom of the Barnsley countryside, Billy’s self-confidence begins to soar and boy and bird become one.  

Initially premiering at Sheffield’s Crucible, the work was choreographed by award-winning Jonathan Watkins, who also created George Orwell’s modern classic 1984 for Northern Ballet-  winner ‘Best Classical Choreography’ at The National Dance Awards (Critics Circle) 2016 and ‘Best New Dance Production’ at The South Bank Sky Arts Award, 2016. Kes is performed to a new score by Alex Baranowski. The puppetry design and direction is by Rachael Canning. Set and costume design is by Ben Stones. Lighting is designed by Olivier award winner, Mark Henderson.    

Filmed to coincide with the 50th-anniversary release of Ken Loach’s film KES – itself adapted from the Barry Hines novel – A Kestrel for a Knave. Kes Reimagined was filmed in 2019 at Production Park, Wakefield produced by Martin Collins and directed by Emmy award winner, Ross MacGibbon.

The show is 65 minutes long and is available for an unspecified amount of time.


Chichester Festival Theatre’s FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS

Chichester Festival Theatre’s five-star production of the enchanting musical FLOWERS FOR MRS HARRIS from 2018, directed by Daniel Evans, is now available to view online at the Theatre’s website.

Based on the novel by Paul Gallico, the book is by Rachel Wagstaff and the music & lyrics by Richard Taylor. The show was originated by Vicky Graham Productions and first presented at Sheffield Theatres under Daniel Evans’ direction. Featuring a marvellous cast including multi-award winning Clare Burt in the title role, with Joanna Riding, Laura Pitt-Pulford, Louis Maskell, Claire Machin and Gary Wilmot.

The production is available until 8th May. Captions are available.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to the Chichester Festival Theatre to enable it to keep its doors open after this crisis has passed.


A “clutch” of awards: 1 – UK Theatre Awards 2019 reap big wins for Sheffield Theatres

On Sunday 27 October the UK Theatre Awards, uniquely recognising regional work across the UK, were presented at The Guildhall in London.

Sheffield Theatres were the undoubted big winners of the event, winning a total of five awards. STANDING AT THE SKY’S EDGE won Best Musical Production, while their production of THE LIFE OF PI won four awards- Best New Play (Lolita Chakrabarti, adapted from the novel by Yann Martel), Best Director (Max Webster), Best Performance in a Play ( Hiran Abeysekera) and Best Design ( Nick Barnes, Finn Caldwell, Carolyn Downing, Andrzej Goulding, Tim Hatley and Tim Lutkin).

Other winners included EQUUS (produced by English Touring Theatre and Theatre Royal Stratford East), Nuffield Southampton Theatres’ BILLIONAIRE BOY THE MUSICAL and Nottingham Playhouse’e SWEET CHARITY, which won Best Performance in a Musical for Rebecca Trehearn.

The UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre was awarded to Storyhouse in Chester, and other awards went to Emma Rice for her Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre, and the Gielgud Award for Excellence in the Dramatic Arts was awarded to Sir Cameron Mackintosh.

Many congratulations to all the winners and nominees.

You may also be interested to know that Sheffield Theatres production of THE LIFE OF PI will be coming to London’s West End next year. Details and information here

You can find the full list of awards and nominations here