Casting has been announced for a new version of Barry Hines’ northern classic Kes co-produced by Bolton’s Octagon Theatre and Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.
It’s set in a 1960s working-class Yorkshire mining town depicting the struggles of 15-year-old Billy Casper. Bullied and neglected, life isn’t easy for Billy, but when he finds Kes, a kestrel hawk who he cares for and trains, it gives Billy a passion and freedom that has been missing in his life.
This stage version is adapted by Robert Alan Evans, and will be directed by award-winning theatre director and one of The Stage’s 25 Theatremakers to watch in 2022, Atri Banerjee.
A trio of performers will star in this poignant coming of age story with Jake Dunn will make his professional stage debut playing the role of troubled teenager Billy.
The cast also features Harry Egan who was in Blackthorn at Leeds Playhouse, and jazz singer Nishla Smith – whose debut album Friends with Monsters was released in 2021 – who plays The Singer.
“Robert Alan Evans’ adaptation turns Barry Hines’ novel into a moving and wholly theatrical experience that thinks deeply about memory, trauma and our relationships to the places and events that have made each of us who we are, from childhood to adulthood. While remaining faithful to Hines’ original, it puts a whole new twist on a classic,” says Atri Banerjee.
Kes comes to the Octagon from Thursday 10th March – Saturday 2nd April and to Theatre by the Lake from Wednesday 6th – Saturday 30th April. Tickets start from £15 at the Octagon and on sale in both venues.