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Nicolas Kent 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 and Guantanamo. Most of which were broadcast by the BBC, and two which were performed in the Houses of Parliament and on Capitol Hill.

He has also directed many plays in the USA both regionally and in New York, on television for the BBC and for BBC radio.