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Nicolas Kent graduated from St Catharine’s College, Cambridge in 1967 with an English degree. He started his career at Liverpool Playhouse in 1967 as an ABC TV trainee regional theatre director. In 1970 he became Artistic Director of the Watermill Theatre, from 1970-72 Associate Director of the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and from 1976-81 Administrative Director of The Oxford Playhouse Company. From 1984-2012 he was Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre in London.

He has directed productions in over 100 theatres around the world including the West End and New York; as well as for notable companies in Great Britain including The National Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, The Royal Court, The Donmar Warehouse, The Hampstead Theatre, the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith and the Young Vic.

He is probably best known for the political work he did at Tricycle Theatre, where the verbatim plays he directed became known as the Tricycle Tribunal plays, and included The Colour of Justice (the Stephen Lawrence Inquiry), Nuremberg, Srebrenica, Bloody Sunday (Olivier Award for Special Achievement), Guantanamo & The Riots. Most of which were broadcast by the BBC, and two which were performed in the Houses of Parliament and on Capitol Hill.

In 2009 directed the 9 hour trilogy The Great Game - Afghanistan which was nominated for an Olivier award in London, and subsequently toured the USA; as well as two command performances for the Pentagon in Washington in 2011. One year later he directed a two part eight play series looking at the history of nuclear deterrence: The Bomb: a partial history.

He has also directed many plays in the USA: both regionally and in New York, on television for the BBC and for BBC radio. Most recently he directed David Greig’s Letter of Last Resort for BBC Radio 4, and his own translation of Jean-Claude Grumberg’s I just don’t believe it with Michael Gambon & Frances de la Tour at the 2013 Cheltenham Literary Festival.

In 2014 he produced the world premiere of The Nightmares of Carlos Fuentes by Rashid Razaq at the Arcola Theatre, as well as an audio-tour of the famous stained glass windows at St Mary's Church, Fairford, which featured amongst others: Lindsay Duncan, Joanna Lumley, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Anne Robinson, Jon Snow, Zoe Wanamaker and Richard Wilson.

In the Autumn of 2015 his series The Price of Oil was broadcast for BBC Radio 4. Two of the plays were chosen in two successive weeks for R4's Pick of the Week.

In 2016 he directed Another World at the National Theatre and Drones, Baby, Drones at the Arcola Theatre.

In 2017 he edited & directed his own play All the President's Men? in a co-production between the Public Theater in New York & the National Theatre in London for a special staged reading in the West End and on Broadway.

For further information see the production page and review page of this website or his entry in Who's Who.


- Srebrenica (Oberon Books 2005)

- Verbatim Verbatim (Oberon Books 2008)


British Actors' Equity:
Directors' Committee & Afro-Asian Committee

Arts Council of Great Britain:
Drama Panel

Council Member:
Arts Council of England - London Office

Founder member:
Mayor of London's Cultural Strategy Group

Governing Body:
Central School of Speech and Drama

Council Member:
Architectural Association

Shakespeare's Globe:
Artistic Directorate + Governing Body

Board Member:
Waterman's Arts Centre - Brentford

Board Member:
English Pen

Currently

Patron:
Muslim/Jewish Youth Theatre

External Assessor:
for the Irish Arts Council for the Irish National Theatre,
The Abbey Theatre, Dublin

UK Friends of Healing Focus
(An orphanage school in Uganda of 250 pupils)
http://ukhealingfocus.org

 


Before The Party by Rodney Ackland
Director Tom Conti -Jane Asher, Michael Gough & Phyllis Calvert
Queens Theatre/Apollo Theatre

Ain't Misbehavin by Fats Waller
Directors Nicolas Kent & Gillian Gregory
Lyric Theatre

The Price by Arthur Miller
Director - Sean Holmes - Warren Mitchell, Larry Lamb & Sian Thomas
Apollo Theatre

Broken Glass by Arthur Miller
Director Iqbal Khan - Anthony Sher, Tara Fitzgerald & Stanley Townsend
Vaudeville Theatre

The 39 Steps by John Buchan adapted Patrick Barlow
Director - Maria Aitken
Criterion Theatre


Born in the RSA by Barney Simon
- for Channel 4

Half the Picture by Richard Norton-Taylor
- film for BBC 2 co-produced with Freeway Films

   

 

 

The Great White Hope
by Howard Sackler
- TIME OUT Best Fringe production

Guantanamo
by Victoria Brittain & Gillian Slovo
- Nomination OLIVIER Award Special Achievement

Bloody Sunday
by Richard Norton-Taylor
- OLIVIER Award for Special Achievement

Tricycle Theatre
Evening Standard Drama Awards
- Special award for pioneering political theatre

The Great Game - Afghanistan
- Nomination: OLIVIER Award Special Achievement

The Riots
- TIME OUT What's on Stage Best Off-West End Production 2012

 

 

 

 

Honorary Doctorate of Letters
- Westminster University 2008

Theatre Managers' Association Special Achievement Award 2008

Liberty Human Rights Arts Award 2011

Peter Brook Empty Space Special Achievement Award 2012

Granted the Freedom of the London Borough of Brent 2012

 

 

 

 

Michael Billington O.B.E. , Theatre Critic of The Guardian on Nicolas Kent:
What I love about Nick Kent is that he thinks big. Looking back over his years at the Tricycle, one obviously sees that in the way he has pioneered verbatim theatre. The process began in 1993 with Half The Picture, continued unforgettably with The Colour of Justice and Guantanamo and reached a triumphant climax last year with The Riots. Who else but Nick would have the chutzpah, the courage and the sheer political nous to put on a play that reacted so swiftly to public events and shamed the government in its failure to launch a proper enquiry?

At a time when many theatres have become timorous, Nick has also shown an insatiable appetite for grand projects. The Great Game: Afghanistan vitally put the current muddled occupation into its historical context and now The Bomb has reminded us of the world’s dependence on nuclear arsenals. In addition to staging big-issue shows, Nick has done many other valuable things: hosted a wealth of Irish plays, raised the profile of black and Asian actors and encouraged young producers and directors. As a critic, I have always set out for the Tricycle with the highest hopes and rarely been disappointed. Nick hands over to his successor a brilliantly thriving theatre that, under his stewardship, has always punched way above its weight.

[ 2012 ]

NATIONAL THEATRE videos on Verbatim Theatre: