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Press Release: Kes Reimagined being released to coincide with 50th anniversary of film and being shown on BBC4


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Co-produced by The Space, and Kestrel Dance Film Production Ltd

 

Kes Reimagined

 

1791285172_KesReimagined-stillsphotographyMarvMartin(1).thumb.jpg.e26eba13da1b0eb1ae36fb8cd775bc2d.jpg

 

Based on the novel ‘A Kestrel for a Knave’ by Barry Hines, a new film by award-winning choreographer Jonathan Watkins and International Emmy award-winning director Ross MacGibbon

  • Inaugural screenings in Leeds, Sheffield, Halifax and Newcastle upon Tyne, autumn 2019
  • Screenings coincide with the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s film Kes

Kes Reimagined - Official Trailer #KesReimagined

 

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Award-winning choreographer Jonathan Watkins conceived and created his dance, music and puppetry adaptation of Barry Hines’ seminal novel A Kestrel for a Knave for Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre in 2014.  Now, it is re-imagined for the screen with International Emmy Award winner Director Ross MacGibbon to bring this modern classic to audiences in a new way.

 

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of Ken Loach’s film Kes, also adapted from Hines’ novel, Kes Reimagined, co-produced by The Space, and Kestrel Dance Film Production Ltd, premieres at Leeds International Film Festival (7 November), followed by screenings at Showroom Cinema, Sheffield (8 November), Square Chapel Arts Centre, Halifax (9 November) and Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle upon Tyne (10 November).

 

With its themes still relevant today - family relationships, education, opportunities, weaknesses and hidden strengths – Kes is the story of boy and bird, set in a Yorkshire mining community and takes audiences on a journey with Billy Casper and his dysfunctional family. The young working class boy, troubled at home and at school, finds solace when he befriends and trains a kestrel. As the beloved Kes swoops and spins freely in the Barnsley countryside a special bond between boy and bird unfolds. Billy’s potential is finally recognised and the boy’s self-confidence begins to soar.

 

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 winner Mark Henderson.

 

Six members of the Crucible Theatre production’s original cast return for the new film. Chester Hayes reprises his role of Billy Casper and is joined by new 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.

 

Watkins, like Hines, grew up in Barnsley and the novel and subsequent film has been a big part of the choreographer’s life: “The 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. Being from Barnsley, the book by Barry Hines and subsequently Ken Loach’s film feel like they are almost part of my DNA. I grew up with family and friends quoting from them. 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.”

 

Fiona Morris, CEO and Creative Director of The Space, said:As the 50th anniversary of Kes the film approaches, The Space is delighted to be able to bring Jonathan’s re-telling of the story to a new audience. The themes contained within Kes Reimagined still resonate today and the capture of this production continues the organisation’s desire to work with the cultural sector to present a wide range of arts content to the broadest possible audience.”

 

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

 

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-ENDS-

 

NOTES:

Kes Reimagined Cinema Listings

Thursday 7 November at 6.30pm

Leeds International Film Festival, LEEDS

Venue: Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall

Post-screening Q&A with choreographer Jonathan Watkins and composer Alex Baranowski

Tickets available via www.leedsfilm.com

 

Friday 8 November at 8pm

Showroom Cinema, SHEFFIELD

Tickets: www.showroomworkstation.org.uk/kes-reimagined-qa

 

Saturday 9 November at 5.15pm

Square Chapel Arts Centre, HALIFAX

Tickets: www.squarechapel.co.uk/whats-on/kes-reimagined-qa/

 

Sunday 10 November at 5.30pm

Tyneside Cinema, NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

Tickets: www.tynesidecinema.co.uk/event/kes-reimagined/

 

Duration: 70 minutes // Rating: Recommended PG / 12

 

Director - Ross MacGibbon makes award-winning films about dance. MacGibbon danced with The Royal Ballet from 1973 to 1986, and since then he has reinvented himself as one of the world’s leading dance film-makers, whose work is regularly seen on British television. His film of MacMillan’s last ballet, The Judas Tree, won the 1998 International Emmy Award for Performing Arts and he has won the prestigious 2013 Prix Italia for his Channel Four film, Matthew Bourne's Christmas. He has directed and produced over 75 performance films for, among others, BBC, Channel Four TV, The Royal Opera House, The Royal National Theatre and The Mariinsky.

 

Choreographer - Jonathan Watkins is a director and choreographer from Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Credits include the World Premiere of Reasons To Stay Alive (Sheffield Theatres/ETT), 1984 (Northern Ballet) winner of best new dance production at The Southbank Sky Arts Awards, and KES (Sheffield Crucible Theatre). Silent Vision, Stop Me When I’m Stuck, As One, Diana and Actaeon (The Royal Ballet) and works for Texas Ballet Theatre, Yekaterinburg Ballet and Ballet Manila. Film credits include Route 67, Sofa, Bunker and Imperfect Perfection. As Movement Director on Road (The Royal Court), The Machine (M.I.F), Coriolanus and Aristocrats (Donmar Warehouse) and People (National Theatre).

 

The Space is a commissioning and development agency, supported by the BBC and Arts Council England, committed to supporting and facilitating the UK arts sector to realise its digital ambitions. It does this through the commissioning of arts projects, supporting arts and cultural organisations to develop their digital plans and activities and offering training workshops, advice and resources. The organisation has supported the delivery of over 200 digital projects to date, achieving extensive online and broadcast audiences. www.thespace.org

 

Photography credits: Kes Reimagined - stills by Marv Martin

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  • 3 weeks later...

Barry Hines’ modern classic flies again in Kes Reimagined

  • A new film by award-winning choreographer Jonathan Watkins & International Emmy award-winning director Ross MacGibbon
  • BBC FOUR transmission on Tuesday 19 November 2019
  • 2019 marks 50 years since the release of Loach’s film Kes

 

Kes Reimagined Trailer #KesReimagined

 

image1.jpeg.d9c4539d12195581606bed5f81bc9832.jpeg

 

Media release: Tuesday 12 November 2019 - Ken Loach’s film Kes was a huge success in 1969. Now, five decades later and Kes Reimagined revisits the story of youngster Billy Casper and the kestrel which he trains. The new film, by award-winning choreographer Jonathan Watkins and director Ross MacGibbon, premiered at Leeds International Film Festival last week and will be broadcast on BBC Four on Tuesday 19 November at 10pm.

 

Loach’s film is based on Barry Hines’ 1968 best-selling novel A Kestrel for a Knave and is set in Barnsley in the sixties. Choreographer Watkins also hails from the same South Yorkshire town where the story became a firm favourite for the young dancer and his friends. They all came of age quoting lines from the book.

 

Kes is the story of boy and bird, set in a Yorkshire mining community and takes audiences on a journey with Billy Casper and his dysfunctional family. The young working class boy, troubled at home and at school, finds solace when he befriends and trains a kestrel. As the beloved Kes swoops and spins freely in the Barnsley countryside a special bond between boy and bird unfolds. Billy’s potential is finally recognised and the boy’s self-confidence soars.

 

Like the protagonist in Kes, Yorkshire-born Watkins also grew up thinking outside of the box. He moved to London when he was 12 years old to attend The Royal Ballet School. Whilst training, Watkins developed a talent for choreography and he won the coveted Kenneth Macmillan Choreography Competition when he was 16 years old. His love of the tale of Billy and his kestrel went to London with him.

 

Watkins feels Kes is embedded into the DNA of Barnsley, and comments: Kes was always in my heart and my head because I grew up in Barnsley. It is the story that everyone in the town knows. Everyone has seen the film or studied the book at school. I’m from one of the small villages in Barnsley where, watching the film growing up, you would recognise so many places you knew.

 

In Kes we see a young person that hasn’t got a good home life, who feels isolated and not connecting with school but somehow through sheer luck drops on something special in a wild bird. There’s a great message in Kes in terms of finding your path and what you’re passionate about. The story has never been autobiographical for me but I found a passion in dance, theatre and telling stories that has led me to where I am. That’s my kestrel.”

 

Watkins’ audience and critically acclaimed Kes was first seen in 2014 as a dance theatre production created for The Crucible in Sheffield. Watkins was keen to share the work with a wider audience and whilst choreographing his next production, an adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 for Northern Ballet, he worked with film director Ross MacGibbon and The Space, and the conversation began about turning Watkins’ Kes into a film.

The Space supports greater digital access to the arts and helps cultural organisations across the UK to use digital technologies to reach wider and more diverse audiences. Kes Reimagined marks the first co-production that the organisation has entered into.

 

Kes Reimagined reunites the creative team behind the 2014 stage production. 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 Orwell’s 1984. The 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 winner Mark Henderson.

 

Six members of The Crucible’s original cast return for the new film. Chester Hayes reprises his role of Billy Casper and is joined by new 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.

 

Kes Reimagined premiered at Leeds International Film Festival on 7 November 2019 before being screened in Sheffield, Halifax and Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

-ENDS-

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Kes Reimagined – BBC Four transmission on Tuesday 19November at 10pm www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bh0q

 

Director - Ross MacGibbon makes award-winning films about dance. MacGibbon danced with The Royal Ballet from 1973 to 1986, and since then he has reinvented himself as one of the world’s leading dance film-makers, whose work is regularly seen on British television. His film of MacMillan’s last ballet, The Judas Tree, won the 1998 International Emmy Award for Performing Arts and he has won the prestigious 2013 Prix Italia for his Channel Four film, Matthew Bourne's Christmas. He has directed and produced over 75 performance films for, among others, BBC, Channel Four TV, The Royal Opera House, The Royal National Theatre and The Mariinsky.

 

Choreographer - Jonathan Watkins is a director and choreographer from Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Credits include the World Premiere of Reasons To Stay Alive (Sheffield Theatres/ETT), 1984 (Northern Ballet) winner of best new dance production at The Southbank Sky Arts Awards, and KES (Sheffield Crucible Theatre). Silent Vision, Stop Me When I’m Stuck, As One, Diana and Actaeon (The Royal Ballet) and works for Texas Ballet Theatre, Yekaterinburg Ballet and Ballet Manila. Film credits include Route 67, Sofa, Bunker and Imperfect Perfection. As Movement Director on Road (The Royal Court), The Machine (M.I.F), Coriolanus and Aristocrats (Donmar Warehouse) and People (National Theatre).

 

The Space is a commissioning and development agency, supported by the BBC and Arts Council England, committed to supporting and facilitating the UK arts sector to realise its digital ambitions. It does this through the commissioning of arts projects, supporting arts and cultural organisations to develop their digital plans and activities and offering training workshops, advice and resources. The organisation has supported the delivery of over 200 digital projects to date, achieving extensive online and broadcast audiences. www.thespace.org

 

image3.jpeg.8968a5c1e076d3513379bb7acdd4aaf6.jpeg

 

Photography credits: Kes Reimagined - stills by Marv Martin

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