The Tricycle produces world-class theatre that reflects the diversity of its local community in the London Borough of Brent. It stages new theatre that covers different continents, voices and styles. It tells stories about human connections made through differences of culture, race, or language. It sits at a strategic point of mid-scale venues, enabling the presentation of untested writers on a main stage and bringing unheard voices into the mainstream. The quality and breadth of its programme – from new writing and adaptations to musicals and comedy – is unique for a theatre this size.
The Tricycle invests in creating meaningful relationships with disadvantaged communities, or with those who are passionate about theatre but have limited access to it. Brent is the most diverse borough in Europe, with over half of residents born outside the UK and 130 languages spoken in local schools. The Tricycle is driven by a deeply held belief that theatre bridges cultural differences, brings together people from different walks of life. The power of theatre is that it can foster empathy and create cohesion. When putting a play on stage, the Tricycle invites people to imagine life in someone else’s shoes, see the world through different lenses. This is why one of its long term ambitions is to try and give an opportunity for every child in Brent to experience the Tricycle as an audience member, a participant or a theatre-maker.
Indhu Rubasingham has grown the Tricycle’s reputation since becoming Artistic Director in 2012, gaining recognition for the consistently outstanding quality of its artistic programme and its committed engagement with an exceptionally diverse local community. In her first year the Tricycle increased its audience by a fifth; produced world premiere shows like Red Velvet, Handbagged and Once a Catholic that played to full houses; successfully transferred productions to New York (Red Velvet at St Ann’s Warehouse) and the West End of London (Handbagged at the Vaudeville, The Father at the Wyndham’s Theatre); won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement, two Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards and a London Evening Standard Theatre Award; commissioned two new plays by established writers for the Tricycle Young Company; and launched NW6, a new writing programme that supports 5 writers to develop their long-term careers.
And yet, the Tricycle is the only subsidised theatre in London not to have received any capital investment in its auditorium in the last 25 years. With more audiences and increasingly ambitious programming, the building is under considerable strain and in need of renewal. It will not survive another 25 years unless we improve the building’s sustainability and access. This is why we are embarking on a £5million capital refurbishment project to transform the Tricycle Theatre into the brightest beacon on Kilburn High Road. We want to create a building that matches the Tricycle’s artistic achievements, allowing us to produce work that is even more ambitious in quality, range and scope and to attract more visitors through improved access and comfort.
The refurbishment – designed by Ian Ritchie Architects – will focus on re-designing the auditorium and changing rooms to make them totally accessible, increase capacity by 60 seats and improve its carbon footprint.
I have been a Trustee of the Tricycle Theatre for the last decade and chair the Capital Appeal Committee. I have watched as artists, young and old, whom I have known throughout my career in the visual arts, have come to know the Tricycle and admire the work that Indhu is doing. In the words of Shirazeh Houshiary, ‘The Tricycle is doing such important work that we must support it’. The seven artists who have donated work are active members of our audience. The proceeds from the sale of their works will help the Tricycle serve the needs of the international, national and local communities, continue to produce theatre of excellence and maintain its position as one of the leading theatres of new writing in London.
'This drawing of Charles Ray's Fall '91 is part of an imaginary show of real world artists situated in the fictional MoAO museum in the town of Onomatopoeia(capital city, port and gateway to the Island). Curated by Tom Morton, the show, entitled ‘It Means ,It Means!’, was conceived with deference to a quote by Amot Tomomata, the Islands Socratic style philosopher, who states: ‘ All art is meant, but all that is meant is not Art. Art is that which the meaning of is to mean.’ Importantly the show also asserts the symbiotic relationship between the real and the fictional, and the trade that happens between the two states'
(Charles Avery, 2015).