THEATRE director Fraser Sugden feels ‘honoured’ to be able to bring the classic story of Kes to the stage.

Produced in conjunction with Wakefield Little Theatre, the play will be performed at The Academy Theatre in Birdwell from February 29 to March 2.

The team have been working hard to adapt Barry Hines’ legendary story A Kestrel for a Knave, which gained the title the play will be using – Kes – when director Ken Loach created the film adaptation in 1969.

Fraser said: “It’s going really well at the moment, but we had a slow start.

“We found that younger generations didn’t get why it was so important – people of an older generation were happy to jump in but young people would say ‘what are you on about?’

“It’s not explored as much in school anymore, so young people aren’t aware of its significance.”

The story explores the troubled life of Billy Casper, a working class boy from Barnsley.

“The play, like the book and the film, doesn’t pull any punches,” Fraser added.

“It’s not a happy, sweet piece.

“It’s quite dark, but very true to life in that period.

“We’ve got to remember that all these problems happened not that long ago.”

The leading role of Billy will be played by 12-year-old newcomer Tommy Gossage, who has been to drama school but never taken on a role in an actual stage play before.

He will be joined by Lisa Scott, who is playing his mother, and Will Fealy playing his half-brother Jud.

“Tommy’s really captured the character.

“Billy’s a down-trodden, timid person and since Tommy’s still new to the stage, that innocence really comes across.

“I feel I have been given a huge honour in being allowed to nurture something so special to so many people.”