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 one 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 and 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.
In 2018 he co-produced and directed Mark Thomas’ Check-Up: Our NHS @ 70 at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Festival and the Arcola Theatre.
In 2019 he directed a Cape Town adaptation of David Greig’s Midsummer by David Kramer re-titled Happy New Year for the Fugard Theatre; he devised the BBC Radio 4 seven play series This Is Your Country Too and he was also an Executive Producer of the Patrick Sandford/Nancy Meckler film, Groomed.
The Great White Hope
by Howard Sackler
– TIME OUT Best Fringe production
by Victoria Brittain & Gillian Slovo
– Nomination OLIVIER Award Special Achievement
by Richard Norton-Taylor
– OLIVIER Award for Special Achievement
Evening Standard Drama Awards
– Special award for pioneering political theatre
The Great Game – Afghanistan
– Nomination: OLIVIER Award Special Achievement
– TIME OUT What’s on Stage Best Off-West End Production 2012
Mark Thomas Check up:Our NHS@70
– The Scotsman FRINGE FIRST Edinburgh Festival
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
List of boards served on
British Actors’ Equity:
Directors’ Committee & Afro-Asian Committee
Arts Council of Great Britain:
Arts Council of England – London Office
Mayor of London’s Cultural Strategy Group
Central School of Speech and Drama
Artistic Directorate + Governing Body
Waterman’s Arts Centre – Brentford
for the Irish Arts Council for the Irish National Theatre,
The Abbey Theatre, Dublin
Muslim/Jewish Youth Theatre
UK Friends of Healing Focus
(An orphanage school in Uganda of 250 pupils)
Regent Street Cinema Management Advisory Board
Civil Liberties Trust, the parent board of LIBERTY
Visitors’ Arts Foundation, which he co-founded