Cast announced for Kes
Tue 1 Feb 2022

Cast announced for Kes

New production based on the acclaimed book and film

Theatre by the Lake and the Octagon Theatre have today announced the cast for their upcoming production of Kes, Barry Hines’ powerful modern classic drama that comes to Theatre by the Lake from Wed 6 – Sat 30 April.

This new production, adapted for the stage by Robert Alan Evans, is a co-production with the Octagon Theatre Bolton and will be directed by award-winning theatre director and one of The Stage’s 25 Theatremakers to watch in 2022, Atri Banerjee.

First released as a novel in 1968, it was then adapted for the big screen in Ken Loach’s acclaimed drama the following year. The stage version promises an intimate and highly theatrical exploration of this moving and much-loved story.

Set in a 1960s working-class Yorkshire mining town, Kes depicts 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 throughout his life.

A trio of performers star in this poignant coming of age story about survival and the true nature of friendship. Jake Dunn will make his professional stage debut playing the role of troubled teenager Billy Casper. The cast also features Harry Egan (Blackthorn, Leeds Playhouse and the UK tour of Selladoor’s Of Mice and Men) as The Man and jazz singer Nishla Smith – whose debut album Friends with Monsters was released in 2021, who plays The Singer.

Kes director Atri Banerjee said:I am incredibly excited to be directing this new production of Kes. I’m delighted to be working with such a brilliant cast and creative team to bring this beautiful and iconic Northern story to the stage.

“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. I am certain it will resonate with audiences of all ages.”

The creative team for Kes includes: set and costume design by Anisha Fields, lighting design by Jamie Platt, sound design and composition by Alexandra Faye Braithwaite, movement direction by Jennifer Jackson, dialect coaching by Natalie Grady and assistant direction by Eilidh Gibson.

This uplifting story about survival in a tough world comes to Theatre by the Lake from Wed – Sat 30 April and to Bolton Octagon from Thu 10 March – Sat 2 April. Tickets start from £10 at Theatre by the Lake and £15 from the Octagon Theatre and are on sale in both venues.

Find out more and book tickets at or via TBTL’s Box Office on 017687 74411.

Theatre by the Lake is a See it Safely and Good to Go approved venue complying with all the latest government guidance and have implemented Covid-safety measures to keep audiences safe. They have also programmed two guaranteed socially distanced shows on Thu 14 April, 2pm & Thu 28 April, 7.30pm for audiences who are not yet ready for full capacity shows. To find out more visit


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