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Major award for Indhu Rubasingham

Major award for Indhu Rubasingham

April 14 2014

Theatre awards recognise venue, play, and artistic director

  • Olivier award for Tricycle Theatre and Indhu Rubasingham
  • Trio of triumphs – for plays, Handbagged and Red Velvet and first mini-festival by theatre company

CHAMPAGNE corks were popping last night at the Tricycle Theatre when it learnt that it had won an Olivier for its production of “Handbagged”.

Plays at the Kilburn, North London venue, are staged by Indhu Rubasingham (pictured above), who has been very much making her mark as the iconic theatre’s artistic director since 2012.

The Tricycle was named in the Oliviers for ‘Outstanding Achievement in an Affliate Theatre’ for its production of the play, “Handbagged”. This award highlights work by theatres which are not part of the West End and do not have full membership of the Society of London Theatres.

Rubasingham, reacting to the award, told this morning: “It’s a great honour for the Tricycle Theatre to receive this Olivier.

“In the last month alone, our small theatre on Kilburn High Road has staged its first young company take over, opened ‘Red Velvet’ in New York, and of course ‘Handbagged’ in the West End.

“This is down to a small, but brilliant team at the Tricycle. This Olivier is for them, the actors, the creative team, the stage management and especially our glorious playwright Moira Buffini.”

The award represents another significant milestone in her career and for the theatre she runs too.


Handbagged” first conceptualised in 2010, was staged earlier this year at The Tricycle, and is directed by Rubasingham.

It transferred to the Vaudeville Theatre in London’s West End earlier this month and garnered rave reviews when it was staged at The Tricycle. It’s an imaginative take on two powerful women – Her Majesty the Queen, and the late prime minister Margaret Thatcher and what they might have discussed when they met for regular briefings at the palace.

This triumph comes not long after the praise and huge critical acclaim for another production Rubasingham directed – “Red Velvet”. It also was garlanded with awards. Writer Lolita Chakrabarti won both The Evening Standard and Critics Circle awards for ‘Most Promising Playwright Award’ and her husband, Adrian Lester, took the best actor award from the Critics Circle in 2012.

Red Velvet” sold out its most recent run at the Tricycle and has just transferred to New York, where Rubasingham is currently visiting.

The play centres around black American actor Ira Aldridge, who has to step into the role of Othello, when celebrated 19th century star, Edmund Kean becomes too poorly. There is tension as a black figure comes to the fore amidst the continuing battle over slavery in 19th century Britain.

The Tricycle Young Company, a platform for young emerging artists, recently curated its own festival comprising theatre, film, workshops and events last month at the venue.

In 2012 Rubasingham was awarded the Arts & Culture Award at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards for ‘astounding achievements in theatre’. She also received the Carlton Multi-Cultural Achievement Award for Performing Arts and in 2010 she jointly received the Liberty Human Rights Arts Award for “The Great Game: Afghanistan”.

Rubasingham’s past work includes “Paper Dolls”, “Women, Power And Politics”, and “Fabulation” and she was associate director of the Gate Theatre, Birmingham Rep and the Young Vic.

Picture: Tristram Kenton

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Written by Asian Culture Vulture