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KES Cast Flying High At Yorkshire Falconry Centre
Actor Dan Parr at SMJ Falconry - photo Anthony Robling
The cast and creatives of the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of Kes visited the SMJ Falconry centre in Oxenhope near Keighley to see birds of prey in action.

During the visit the Playhouse team learnt about the art of falconry. They were shown how to use lures and fly kestrels like Billy Caspar, the main character in KES.

Director Amy Leach said:

"It would be hard to do this play without going to fly some birds. It feels essential to get that feeling of having a real bird of prey in front of you. It's just incredible - frightening and thrilling at the same time."

"It was fascinating to meet James, a Yorkshire lad who flies kestrels and loves them. He's so comfortable around birds of prey and gave us an insight into actually how Billy might react with a bird."

"When we got back to the rehearsal room we explored all the physical movements we'd watched and learnt during the day."

In May and June West Yorkshire Playhouse presents a new production of KES which opens in the Courtyard Theatre and then tours to community venues across Leeds.

Adapted from A KESTREL FOR A KNAVE by Yorkshire author Barry Hines, this innovative staging of his 1968 novel comes as the literary world mourns the loss of one of its most humane and authentic working class voices.

Actor Jack Lord at SMJ Falconry - photo Anthony Robling
Artistic Director James Brining said:

"We embarked on staging a new production of KES as it presents a fantastic opportunity to share afresh this incredible story of hope; a story that is universally revered and also rooted right here in Yorkshire.

"With the recent news of Barry Hines' passing this production is all the more poignant as we mark the loss of one of our great northern writers.

"Generations have been moved by the plight of Billy Casper and the unlikely friendship between boy and bird and it's down to the enduring power of Hines' novel that it will continue to do so for generations to come.

"We're proud to be putting Kes centre stage at West Yorkshire Playhouse and taking this production out to community venues across Leeds."

Based on Barnsley-born Hines' 1968 novel A KESTREL FOR A KNAVE and the iconic 1969 film adapted by Hines and director Ken Loach, this innovative staging tells the story of 15 year old schoolboy Billy Casper through a cast of two - performed by Dan Parr and Jack Lord.

Reuniting the writing-directing team behind THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS
KES is adapted by Robert Alan Evans and directed by Amy Leach, whose previous work for the Playhouse includes LITTLE SURE SHOT.

KES Company at SMJ Falconry - photo Anthony Robling
Director Amy Leach said:

"Capturing the brutal poetry of the book, our version of KES uses just two actors to bring Billy Casper's story to life in a funny, haunting and theatrically thrilling version of this well-loved tale. It's exciting to be presenting this fresh adaptation of Barry Hines' novel to audiences across Leeds."

KES opens in the Playhouse's Courtyard Theatre from 20 May - 4 June. After its run at the Playhouse it tours to community venues in Armley, Burmantofts, Gipton, Rothwell, Middleton, Seacroft, Chapeltown and Hawksworth Wood.

KES follows community tours of Alan Bennett's TALKING HEADS and LITTLE SURE SHOT as part of the Playhouse's ongoing commitment to community engagement.

The performances are accompanied by a programme of wrap-around activity and performance pieces by young people from First Floor, the Playhouse's youth arts space, and by community groups from each area.

KES Cast Flying High At Yorkshire Falconry Centre, 30th April 2016, 10:58 AM