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Tricycle Theatre renamed Kiln after £5.5m revamp

An artist's impression of the view from the auditorium in the redesigned Tricycle Theatre. Photo: ChampanWaterworth An artist's impression of the view from the auditorium in the redesigned theatre. Photo: ChampanWaterworth
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The Tricycle Theatre has announced it is changing its name to Kiln Theatre, as it prepares to reopen after two years of major redevelopment works.

The theatre, in Kilburn, north London, is relaunching as Kiln ahead of its first stage season in two years, which begins in the revamped building in September.

Artistic director Indhu Rubasingham told The Stage the name Kiln “absolutely locates [the theatre] in Kilburn” as well as “denoting a space of transformation, heat, energy and forging”.

Originally a permanent home for the Wakefield Tricycle touring company, the theatre opened as the Tricycle in its current location on Kilburn High Road in 1980.

Rubasingham said there had been conversations about changing the theatre’s name since she joined as artistic director in 2012, and a year-long process has now taken place to decide the new name.

“If you’re in the know – if you are in the industry or you have come before – you know what the Tricycle means and what it stands for, but if you don’t know, the Tricycle doesn’t help what we do,” she said.

“This is about honouring where we’ve come from and who we are, but being bolder and more ambitious with it.”

Rubasingham announced the plans at an event in central London, alongside a year’s worth of work.

This includes a stage adaptation of Zadie Smith’s novel White Teeth by Stephen Sharkey. It will feature original music by Paul Englishby and a live band on stage. Rubasingham, who will direct, described the production as “the most ambitious project we’ve done”.

The season also includes a revival of musical Blues in the Night, directed by Susie McKenna and starring Sharon D Clarke and Clive Rowe, and the concluding part of Florian Zeller’s family trilogy, The Son.

Rubasingham added that the renaming and programming, alongside the near completed capital project, which cost £5.5 million, is “about making theatre accessible and bringing people into this building and other buildings”.

Once opened, it will feature an entirely new, flexible auditorium, which will have an increased capacity of 292 seats. The previous theatre held 232.

New front of house areas will include an all-day cafe, which opens out on to the high street, while other improvements include better disabled access and spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium, as well as increased technical capabilities.

Rubasingham stressed that the theatre’s commitment to its local community would remain at the heart of its ethos, with a Heritage Lottery Fund-backed project that will explore the building and area’s history and culminate in a large-scale community production featuring 100 local residents on and off stage.

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