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Kes - Jack Studio Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

ADAPTED for the stage by Robert Alan Evans from the novel A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines, Kes runs at the Jack Studio Theatre from Wednesday, May 2 to Saturday, May 19, 2018.

Billy Casper is 15 years old. Bullied at school and unhappy at home, he doesn’t fit in. But when Billy comes across a wild kestrel and realises he can train her, he discovers a new life above the small Northern mining town in which he lives. Together they learn to fly and Billy finds friendship and hope – until one snap decision and an unplaced bet change things forever.

Kes is the story of Billy’s heart. How it came to beat and how it came to break.

Produced by the same team behind The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, The Haunting and Shipwrecked!, this Off West End premiere is described as a powerful adaptation of Barry Hines’s much-loved modern classic which was published fifty years ago in 1968.

Produced by the Jack Studio Theatre, Kes is directed by Kate Bannister, with set design by Karl Swinyard, lighting design by Ben Jacobs, costume design by Martin J Robinson and sound design by Jack Barton. Casting will be announced in due course.

Barry Hines (June 30, 1939 – March 18, 2016) was born in the mining village of Hoyland Common, near Barnsley, South Yorkshire. He worked as an apprentice mining surveyor for the National Coal Board before entering Loughborough Training College to study Physical Education. Working as a teacher in Hoyland Common, he wrote novels in the school library after work, later turning to writing full-time.

Hines has written many popular novels and television scripts, and is probably best known for his novel A Kestrel for a Knave, which he helped adapt for Ken Loach’s film Kes. It was first published in 1968 and has remained in print ever since; it has been re-launched by Penguin as a Penguin Modern Classic and translated into a number of foreign languages. His other novels include The Gamekeeper, Looks and Smiles and The Price of Coal.

Tickets: £16, £13 concessions – available from the box office on 0333 666 3366 (£1.50 fee for phone bookings only) or online at

Time: 7.30pm (not Sunday and Monday).

Also at the Jack Studio Theatre: Ross McGregor’s new version of Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters (until April 14) and The Golden F**king Years by Adrian McLoughlin (April 17 to April 28, 2018).