Rubasingham unveils debut Tricycle season

Indhu Rubasingham has announced her first season as artistic director of The Tricycle in London, launching with a new play about 19th century black actor Ira Aldridge, played by Adrian Lester.

Red Velvet, written by Lolita Chakrabarti, will open the season on October 11 and will be directed by Rubasingham. It will tell the story of the Amercian stage actor Aldridge, who was one of the foremost Shakespearean performers of his generation. Rubasingham said she felt Aldridge has been “overlooked in British theatre history” and she hoped the production would help re-establish his reputation. Lester makes his debut at the Tricycle in the production.

Following Red Velvet, the Tricycle will stage its first ever family Christmas show – Arabian Nights by Mary Zimmerman, which will be directed by Lu Kemp.

This will be followed by a visiting production by diverse theatre company Eclipse Theatre – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show, directed by Dawn Walton.

The season will close with the world premiere of Paper Dolls, a new play with music by Philip Himberg, which will also be directed by Rubasingham. It tells the story of a group of Filipino immigrants working in social care in Israel, who form a musical drag act in their spare time.

Rubasingham succeeds Nicolas Kent as artistic director of the Kilburn-based theatre. Kent was artistic director of the venue for 28 years and during his time the theatre became known for its verbatim political plays.

Rubasingham said that she had not continued with that strand of programming in her first season because “if I was to do tribunal plays, I would be a pale imitation – that was very much Nick’s stamp and it’s very important that I create my own stamp.”

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The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, London. Photo: Noel Foster