A call for teenage boys to take part in a production of the play Kes netted nine new young members for the Holme Valley-based Turn Again Theatre company, celebrating its 30th birthday.
And this month the newly-fledged actors will be showing what they can do when the drama comes to Holmfirth Civic Hall.
Daren Wild, director of the play, which is based on the Barry Hines novel A Kestrel for a Knave and the iconic 1970s film, says the drama society was delighted with the response. “They’re varied in age, from 12 to 15, and they’ve all got a part, either as little cameos or main roles,” he added.
The leading role of Billy Casper – a young boy, bullied at home and school, who finds comfort in training a kestrel - belongs to Luke Gosney, 13, a member of Turn Again for five years and an experienced thespian. “He’s quite remarkable,” says Daren, “and has a rare talent. He’s in every scene and never leaves the stage.” Joining Luke will be another of the company’s leading actors, Christine Millington, who is taking the part of Billy’s mother. But the role of Billy’s brother Judd goes to another newcomer, Joshua Johnston, making his acting debut at the civic hall.
While the story of Kes is well-known, it is rarely performed on stage. As Daren explains: “It has sensitive moral issues, which I think are more hidden away but still go on today, and is an emotional rollercoaster – hard-hitting and not a light and fluffy night out – although it has a fair bit of black comedy.”
Audiences will be intrigued by the way the company has solved the staging problem of providing a kestrel for Billy.
Kes can be seen from Wednesday to Saturday, May 17 to 20. Tickets are £7 and £10 from Holmfirth Tourist Information Office or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07951 446580.