Nick Kent steps down as artistic director of Kilburn’s Tricycle Theatre

Mr Kent has spent 27 years at the helm of one of the UK’s most famous theatres

Nick Kent, the longstanding artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre, is stepping down because of deep funding cuts.

Mr Kent has spent that past 27 years at the helm of the playhouse in Kilburn High Road, and has played a key role in building its reputation for staging cutting edge political plays.

But he has said that cuts in public subsidy ‘has made maintaining the level and quality of work for which we have become known a hugely difficult challenge, and one perhaps more suited to new hands’.

The Tricycle had nearly �350,000 of funding wiped from its books this year.

Mr Kent said: “Leaving after so many years is both sad and daunting, but I look forward to finding new challenges directing and producing on stage as well as in different media, and working on arts and community projects - harnessing whatever talents I have in different ways.

“I have been running the Tricycle for 27 years, helped loyally and wonderfully by Mary Lauder for almost every day of that time, a brilliant staff and with the terrific support of people like you.

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“I very much hope that I will be able to continue with some involvement in the Tricycle’s future. Finally, I wish the new director huge success when she or he is appointed.”

The past year has been a very successful one for the theatre celebrated its 30th birthday this year, and its production of a series of short plays on Afghan history The Great Game toured in the US.

The theatre has become best known for its tribunal plays – verbatim reconstructions of public inquiries – and has staged productions on the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry and most recently on the Baha Mousa inquiry.

Commenting on this, Mr Kent said: “On the bright side, it was a happy coincidence that my decision to step down was taken at a time last month when we saw two men re-arrested for the murder of Stephen Lawrence, and Ratko Mladic deported to The Hague to be tried for the massacre in Srebrenica.

“Both subjects of plays for which the Tricycle has become well-known, and also at a time when the West End transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre of our production of Arthur Miller’s Broken Glass was confirmed.”

The leader of Brent Council has paid tribute to Mr Kent who she described as an ‘absolutely brilliant artistic director’.

Cllr Ann John OBE (Lab: Stonebridge) said: “The theatre is second to none, particularly on the political front. It could not have done more controversial things so successfully. Nick has done a fabulous job.

“He has really strong links with South Africa, and the Tricycle was at the forefront of putting on plays by Irish and black writers, and he has a really good track record for enabling new playwrights to have their work performed.

“He can be very, very proud of what he has achieved. He will be a big loss.”