Audition Notice

Kes -An adaptation of Barry Hines’ A Kestrel for a Knave by Lawrence Till

Auditions on Sunday 4th November, 2pm at Chorley Little Theatre

The Performances

Mon 25 February -Sat 2nd March 2013 (inclusive) – at Chorley Little Theatre

The Rehearsals:

Sundays (10-2.30pm); Thursdays (7.00-9.30pm) and, nearer to the production Mondays (7.00-9.30pm) – a full rehearsal schedule will be issued once the play has been cast.

The Play

Set in 1968, Yorkshire. The play tells the story of Billy Casper; a failing high school student who develops a passion for training a young kestrel that he has found.

Surrounding Billy’s failing studies and his new found hobby is his family; his mother and elder brother, Jud. Home life is not easy for Billy; sharing a single bed with his brother and often left to fend for himself, the times with Kes in the field become Billy’s only refuge. This adds to the tragedy when Jud, angry because Billy did not put a bet on for him kills the bird, leaving Billy very much alone.

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. A story that deserves to be retold.

The Director

Danny Price studied BA in Theatre Studies at Lancaster University and is now Head of Performing Arts at a sixth form college in South Manchester, where he teaches drama. At CADOS, Danny has acted in ‘Up ‘n Under II’ and ‘Art’ and followed that up with his CADOS directorial debut Of Mice and Men, which was widely acclaimed for its power and performance. Danny has canvassed hard to direct Kes and will provide a stunning piece of drama for the ‘premiere’ season.

This CADOS production:

There is no real kestrel. The story is about a boy, not about a bird.

The production will rely very heavily on a clever use of technical elements. The design will use selective realism principally, have a multi-purpose set, but will use actors’ simple stage movement in the space to create the long journeys that Billy undertakes, to recreate the different environments, and to create the appropriate bustle of the neighborhood in which he lives: A physical and ensemble presentation.

Those who saw the production Of Mice and Men at CADOS in 2008 will know that I insist on very snappy, sharp and fluid stage action.

All further decisions will be made along with the cast. Why not be part of it?


Things to note: All parts will require a Yorkshire accent. Don’t let this put you off! Training will be given and so a willingness to giving it a go is all I ask.

I would suggest that watching the film and/or reading Barry Hines’ A Kestrel for a Knave, would give those who don’t know the story a good insight.

Although, it must be said that this production is not to be a direct copy of the film, it will of course, pay homage to it in places.

There are a range of parts in the production for both genders; school friends, teachers, shopkeepers etc and I would like to cast to be played by actors as closely to the real age of the characters as possible. You must be 16+ to audition for this production.

The Auditions -

There is no preparation material for this audition. There will be a whole group workshop from 2-3pm. I believe that the actors should feel at ease in an audition and what better way than working with the director from the offset and seeing what they are about to embark on.

After the workshop I will then pair up and group together people to read small extracts from the script (you will be given some time to work on this) but, once again, I am not looking for a perfect and polished performance, just an honest and responsive one that serves the text/story.

The production will require actors who can respond to direction and be prepared to use the rehearsal period to experiment.

Hoping that all of that has got you interested, here are the parts that are available, some parts can be played by either gender. Some parts will be doubled, with the exception of Billy, Jud and Mrs Casper. Ages listed are playing ages.

Billy Casper m 15 The lead role, never off-stage. Protagonist. Sympathetic figure, lots of dialogue. Should be able to blend the serious and the comic.

Jud m 20s Billy older brother. Cocksure and arrogant. A natural bully, but is clearly suffering from the lack of a father figure. Must be able to play understated menace convincingly.

Mrs Casper f 30s-40s Billy’s mum. Single parent, widowed and distracted, loves her sons, but is struggling to make ends meet, she neglects Billy.

Mrs Macdowall f 30s – 50s Macdowall’s very irate mother. Will double up as the librarian in the production.

Billy’s Teachers:

Mr Gryce m 50+ Headteacher, old school master. Strong believer in corporal punishment. Comic timing needed.

Mr Farthing m 25 – 35 The only teacher that seems to be fighting Billy’s corner; he sees potential in him and encourages him. This character is the older brother/father figure that Billy deserves, must be gentle yet stern.

Mr Sugden m 30s-40s The egotistical sports teacher who uses the sports field as an opportunity to play out his failed hopes as a footballer. Very Comic role, but is the ultimate bully, epitomizes everything Billy despises.

Mr Crossley m 30s – 50s Billy’s form teacher. Impatient and forceful.

Billy’s Peers:

Macdowall m 15-16 Billy’s rival, he fights with Billy and Mr Farthing separates them. A repugnant and misled young man

Tibbut m 15 -16 cheeky chappy; challenges Mr Sugden about his choice of football team. A potentially comic role

Anderson m 15 -16 school friend of Billy and has a long monologue. Must be able to deliver comedy

Whitbread m/f 15 -16 a school friend of Billy

Armitage m/f 15 -16 a school friend of Billy

Delamore m/f 14 -17 a school gossip

Gibbs m/f 14-17 a school gossip

Any other parts will be played by the company.

If you have specific questions about this production, auditioning or have any further questions, contact Danny on 07731464349

If anyone has any questions or queries do not hesitate to contact either Mark on 0787 7111248 or via the "Submissions" form on this site.)