Rhinegold Photo credit: Marv Martin

Sarah Lambie

“Kes Reimagined” live stream

5:58, 22nd May 2020

“Kes Reimagined” to be live streamed for free.

The acclaimed film based on Barry Hines’ novel ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by award-winning choreographer Jonathan Watkins and International Emmy award-winning director Ross MacGibbon presented by The Space and Kestrel Dance Film Production Ltd.

KES reimagined Trailer

Kes Reimagined, created by award-winning choreographer Jonathan Watkins, will be made available to watch online via The Space for free through to June 19th.

The celebrated film takes this familiar northern story and reimagines it through dance to uncover the poetic journey between boy and bird, isolation and freedom, disconnect and passion.With dance, music and puppetry the film was adapted for the screen with International Emmy Award winner Director Ross MacGibbon.

Based on Barry Hines’ seminal novel A Kestrel for a Knave, this production was originally created for Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in 2014 before being filmed for cinematic release in Autumn 2019 where it premiered at Leeds International Film Festival and then screened by the BBC.

Combining a compelling musical score, projected imagery, movement, and heartrending performances, this is a special and fast-moving experience for people of all ages. With its themes still relevant today – family relationships, education, opportunities, weaknesses and hidden strengths – Kesshows the unfolding of a special bond between boy and bird set in a Yorkshire mining community. 

Film Director Ken Loach said: “Your work is yet another testament to the universality and timelessness of Barry Hines’ writing. We all know a Billy Casper. Many will enjoy meeting him again with you.” 

Watkins, like Hines, grew up in Barnsley and the novel and subsequent film has been a big part of the choreographer’s life:

Being from Barnsley, the book by Barry Hines and subsequently Ken Loach’s film feel like they are almost part of my DNA. When considering the stories I want to tell through dance on film this has always been the frontrunner, and through music, puppetry, video and movement hope to uncover a new way of seeing this iconic narrative. I am really proud we are able to share this film with as many people as possible and hopefully create an international understanding of this local story that goes beyond words”  – Jonathan Watkins

Kes Reimagined reunites the creative team behind the 2014 stage production. Choreographer Jonathan Watkins is winner of ‘Best Classical Choreography’ at The Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards (2016) and ‘Best New Dance Production’ at The South Bank Sky Arts Awards (2016) for Northern Ballet’s take on George Orwell’s 1984. An original score is by Tony Award nominated Alex Baranowski. Puppetry design and direction is by Rachael Canning. Set and costume design by Ben Stones has been reworked for film and adds video elements by Daniel Denton. Lighting design is by multi Olivier and Tony Award winnerMark Henderson

Six members of the Crucible Theatre production’s original cast return for the new film. Chester Hayes reprises his role ofBilly Casper and is joined by cast members, Kristen McNally (Principal Character Artist of The Royal Ballet) plays Mum, and Tobias Batley (formerly Northern Ballet Principal, Winston Smith in Watkins’ 1984) plays Jud, Billy’s wayward brother. Also returning for the screen are Dom Czapski as the sympathetic teacher Mr Farthing, Anton Skrzypiciel portrays Headmaster Mr Gryce, and Phil Snowden is Mr Sugden, the self-loving P.E. teacher.   

Laura Careless and Barnaby Meredith play multiple roles and master Kes puppetry to symbolise Billy’s escape from the harsh realities of his daily life.

Fiona Morris, CEO and Creative Director of The Space,said:The Space is delighted to be able to bring Kes Reimagined to a new whole audience. As theatres and cinemas across the nation are closed for the time being, the ability to bring a performance and film of this calibre into the homes of eager audiences becomes crucial.” 

Kes Reimagined was filmed in August 2019 at Production Park in Wakefield.

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