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.


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