Riots and revival in Tricycle season

Published September 22, 2011

Nicolas Kent will bow out as the Artistic Director of the Tricycle theatre following a season combining the recent riots, the return of Stones In His Pockets and an exploration of the history of the nuclear bomb.

Kent, who will have been head of the powerhouse of political theatre for 28 years when he steps down in 2012, directs the two politically-driven productions of the season, The Riots and The Bomb – A Partial History.

The Riots opens the season on 17 November, more than three months before the Deputy Prime Minister’s Committee on Riots is due to report. Written by Tricycle theatre regular Gillian Slovo, who worked with Kent on the hugely acclaimed Guantanamo – Honor Bound To Defend Freedom, The Riots uses accounts from police, victims, onlookers, politicians, teachers, lawyers and community victims to explore what happened in London this summer and why.

The Bomb – A Partial History closes out the season, running from 9 February to 1 April, and is the latest Tricycle project to commission a number of playwrights to create short pieces inspired by a central theme.

Writers including Lee Blessing, Ryan Craig, John Donnelly, David Greig, Elena Gremina, Amit Gupta, Zinnie Harris, Ron Hutchinson, Diana Son and Colin Teevan are to produce pieces that will be performed collectively in two parts titled First Blast (1940-1992) and Second Blast (1992-2012).

The mini-season, which explores nuclear armament from World War II to the current day, follows hit seasons The Great Game: Afghanistan and Women, Power and Politics. It plays as part of the The Tricycle Goes Nuclear festival, which also encompasses film, talks, discussions, an education programme and exhibitions.

Sandwiched between the two political productions is a revival of previous Tricycle theatre hit and Olivier Award-winning comedy Stones In His Pockets, directed by another regular at the Kilburn venue, Indhu Rubasingham.

The comedy, set in rural County Kerry where an American film crew arrives to capture the ‘real’ Ireland for a Hollywood blockbuster, features two actors playing more than 15 characters. Among them are Charlie Conlon and Jake Quinn who, when employed as extras, struggle to give the Americans the idealised idea of Ireland they want, in contrast to the reality of everyday life.

Stones In His Pockets runs from 15 December to 4 February.

Prior to the newly announced 2011/12 season, the Tricycle theatre’s current production, The Absence Of Women, plays until 8 October and is followed by Blessing’s full-length drama about arms negotiators, A Walk In The Woods.

MA