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Former director of Kilburn theatre given highest honour after putting playhouse on the map

PUBLISHED: 16:41 11 May 2012 | UPDATED: 16:11 17 May 2012

Nicolas Kent, who has been granted the Freedom of Brent

Nicolas Kent, who has been granted the Freedom of Brent

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Nicolas Kent awarded Freedom of Brent for his work transforming the Tricycle

A director renowned for making Brent’s much-loved Tricycle Theatre a household name across the world has become the first person in the borough to be granted an honourary freedom award.

Nicolas Kent, artistic director at the playhouse in Kilburn High Road for 28 years, has been granted the Freedom of Brent - the highest honour the council can bestow.

The title recognises those who have provided a valuable service to a borough or city.

Speaking to the Times, Mr Kent said he was “very humbled” to have been recognised.

He said: “It’s a terrific honour and an extraordinary thing for the council to do.”

Following 28 years of service to the borough, Mr Kent announced last year that he would be standing down from his position in the face of government cuts. He worked his last day on Friday, May 4.

He added: “I am only too happy to accept this award and despite not living in Brent I have grown to love it.”

In a report prepared by the council recommending him for the honour, Mr Kent is lauded for making the theatre a household name around the globe.

It says: “He is of the UK’s longest serving and most respected artistic directors. He has built the Tricycle into a successful theatre known particularly for its political plays and culturally diverse work.

“He has placed the theatre on the national and international map out of proportion to its modest 235 seat size.”

During his time at the theatre, he directed a number of acclaimed plays including performances highlighting the Stephen Lawrence case and the London Riots.

He said: “Brent is an extraordinary borough where thousands of very different people live side by side and as a theatre it’s our duty to reflect the local community.”

“These have been the most enjoyable days of my life and I will always have very special memories of the borough.

“It’s a tremendous honour and I hope to be involved with Brent again in the not too distant future and I think the Tricycle will continue to go from strength to strength under its new director.”

Mr Kent is expected to be given the title at Brent Town Hall on Wednesday,, May 16.

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