Scalby School in Kes at Stephen Joseph Theatre

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Scalby School’s version of Kes is set in working-class Yorkshire in the late 1960s.

Based on Barry Hines’ novel A Kestrel for Kabe -Billy Casper is a 15-year-old who suffers abuse both at home and at school.

Billy Casper is a 15-year-old who suffers abuse both at home and at school. Billy’s older half-brother Jud beats and bullies him and his mother has a different man at the door every day. Billy appears headed for a menial job with no future or a miner’s life.

Then one day everything changes. Billy’s world explodes and for the first time happiness swoops into his life in the shape of a European falcon whom he calls Kes.

Billy and Kes, through a shared aspiration to reach new horizons, form a unique bond through training, love and hope. But injustice and heartbreak have a devastating impact on their journeys.

Director and producr Stacey Buric said: “The question on everyone’s lips, when they discovered that Kes would be our next play of choice was, ‘how are you going to portray the kestrel?’. To answer that I refer to Barry Hines.”

The author said about the play “Kes is about education, not falconry. It is a story about a boy, not a bird. I think that’s why the novel translates so effectively to the stage.

“You don’t have to see the kestrel to appreciate Billy Casper’s troubles. His problems are concerned with family and school. The kestrel is a symbol of Billy’s potential.”

This is no fairy tale. Neither the story, nor the production, soften the blows that befall Billy, said Stacey.

“Yet, by keeping the children so visible at the heart of the story, we are constantly reminded of how casually we can squander the future.

“The story of Kes is one of hope, despair, rebellion and ambition although the play is not sentimental it illustrates the hardships of the working classes and the poor state of education in the late 60s.

“Indeed, it resonates with some circumstances in our lives today.

“The play has some wonderfully funny moments and a tremendous amount of heart,” she said.

The Scalby School production is on at the StephenJoseph Theatre, Scarborough, from Thursday February 11 to Saturday February 13, daily at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2pm.

Tickets from the Stephen Joseph Theatre box office on 01723 370541.