Nicolas Kent is a freelance director/producer.
He was Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre, London from 1984 to 2012.
Prior to that he was a director of the Oxford Playhouse Company from 1976-1981.
“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.”
For years, director Nicolas Kent has pushed at the boundaries of theatre in a particularly quiet way. While artistic director at the Tricycle (now Kiln) Theatre in north London, he programmed whole days dedicated to weighty topics, discussed through multiple very short plays. He also mounted a series of forensic political dramas that reproduced, verbatim, excerpts from major public inquiries. His two most recent productions painstakingly distilled sections of the Grenfell Tower inquiry. Quietly devastating, these were superb examples of theatre as vital public witness-bearing. In a sense, The Most Precious of Goods is a successor to these: theatre as reflection and commemoration. Translated and dramatised by Kent from Jean-Claude Grumberg’s bestselling 2019 French novella, it combines the cosiness of a fireside story with the horrors of the Nazi death camps. 24 January 2024
Nicolas Kent is the theatre’s pre-eminent chronicler of 20th- and 21st-century catastrophe and reckoning. 28 January 2024