Barry Hines novel, A Kestrel for a Knave, about a troubled young boy living in a pit community, is probably best known from the wonderful Ken Loach movie. It’s also become a theatre staple, but you’ve never seen it before as a dance-theatre piece. Dance and social realism really doesn’t seem a likely combination, but in fact it works beautifully in choreographer Jonathan Watkins’ beautiful reimagining that brings grace and beauty (and puppetry) to the story of a child who is bullied and lost but finds a kinship with a free-flying bird. The show was first seen at Sheffield Crucible in 2014 but this is a film adaptation, and it’s a winner.
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.”