Cast of TBTL’s upcoming production meet kestrels at Wild Wings

Boy meets bird in Barry Hines’ beautifully powerful drama Kes, which sees young Billy Casper find the true meaning of friendship when training a young kestrel chick.

Life imitated art when Jake Dunn, who plays Billy Casper in the critically acclaimed theatrical production of Kes, and his cast mates visited Wild Wings Bird of Prey Centre

The cast got up close and personal to meet Cloud the kestrel hawk, which will provide inspiration for their performances in the upcoming production at Theatre by the Lake from 6 to 30 April.

Jake Dunn, who plays Billy Casper said: “Seeing these beautiful and graceful birds was a truly rewarding experience and gave me a greater connection to the character of Billy Casper.

“The stage production lets audiences visualise Kes through the beauty of the performance and the theatrical effects created with lighting and music, so for us to see first-hand how they move and interact will build an even greater realism of Kes for the audiences.”

This new co-production by Theatre by the Lake and the Octagon Theatre in Bolton, adapted for the stage by Robert Alan Evans, is 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.

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.

Find out more and book tickets via the Theatre by the Lake Box Office on 017687 74411 or at

TBTL 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.