Readers’ letters: Renaming of Tricycle Theatre

Tricycle Theatre. Picture: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/PA IMAGES

Tricycle Theatre. Picture: DOMINIC LIPINSKI/PA IMAGES - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Times’ readers this week.

We should give renamed Tricycle Theatre a chance

James Powney, Wrottesley Road, Kensal Rise, writes:

I am sorry to see that some people are so exercised about a name change for the Kiln Theatre (formerly the Tricycle Theatre) in Kilburn High Road (Brent & Kilburn Times, “Rebranded ‘Kiln’ under fire as hundreds sign petition to bring back old name”).

I think Indhu Rubasingham and her team really deserve congratulations for securing a multi million pound arts grant at a time when the Tory government has slashed funding for the arts and so much else; for keeping the theatre and cinema going during a major building project despite all the inevitable difficulties; and for planning what I am sure will be a vibrant new season to get the new auditorium off to a good start. That is no mean feat.

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We are promised that the new venue will have improved sightlines, more flexible staging arrangements, greater capacity, better disabled access, lower carbon emissions, additional toilets and an improved cafe.

I think the protesters might at least have held off judgement until they have actually seen it.

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Wikipedia tells me that, back in 1972, “the name ‘Wakefield Tricycle Company’ was adopted as a pun on the Wakefield Cycle of mystery plays, the pub’s name and the fact that the initial company had three members”. That is historically interesting, but doesn’t really add to my understanding of what the theatre is about more recently.

If the current team feel that a new brand will help make the revamped theatre a success they should be allowed to try it.

At least “the Kiln Theatre” does make sense in one way. It is obviously a place where Indhu Rubasingham can always be expected to be feeling the heat.

‘Kiln’ erases 40 years of history

Rosalie Horner, full address supplied, writes an open letter to Indhu Rubasingham, artistic director of Tricycle theatre:

I find it hard to work out why the Tricycle has changed its name. I fail to see one good reason.

Why has it chosen to erase nearly 40 years of the Tricycle’s innovative, challenging history?

The Tricycle has built a fine reputation with its numerous excellent productions, particularly its Irish and Afro-Caribbean plays and its ground-breaking tribunal reconstructions – the Scott Arms to Iraq Inquiry; Nuremberg; and The Colour of Justice, a reconstruction of the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry which the Guardian said was “the most vital piece of theatre on the London stage”.

People say “Tricycle” and think “Kilburn”.

We Brent residents love it and are very proud to have a local theatre of such stature, which I am sure you will build on.

To give a place which was burnt down in 1987 the name Kiln is at the very least insensitive.

It is surprising that a theatre whose voice is so strong and clear has a name with soft consonants which sound muffled in the mouth as if a hand were stifling its utterance.

The Tricycle has always striven to reflect our community.

During the years the theatre has been closed I have regularly visited the cinema but never once have I or any other patron as far as I know been asked for an opinion about the name change.

That’s a shame as I would have felt at least a little involved in the revamped space I eagerly wait to visit.

I would like to say that my unhappiness over the name change does not extend to your very exciting programme.

I congratulate you on that, especially your vision to put on the first stage production of home-grown Zadie Smith’s novel White Teeth. I can’t wait for the theatre to open.

I wish you and it every success.

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