Indhu Rubasingham

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Indhu Rubasingham, MBE, is an English theatre director and the current artistic director of the Kiln Theatre (formerly the Tricycle Theatre) in Kilburn, London.

Early life[edit]

Born in Sheffield to Tamil parents from Sri Lanka, Rubasingham was educated at Nottingham Girls' High School[1][citation needed], after which she studied drama at Hull University.[2]


Freelance directing[edit]

Soon after graduating Hull University, she won an Arts Council Bursary to work as an assistant director at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, where she assisted director Mike Leigh and worked on a range of theatre from pantomime and musicals to new writing plays.[3] She then went on to work as an associate director at the Gate Theatre, the Young Vic, and the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.[4]

Freelance directing work includes productions at the National Theatre (in 2015 Stephen Adly Guirgis' The Motherfucker with the Hat as part of Rufus Norris' inaugural season[5]), West End, the Royal Court (including Belong, Disconnect, Free Outgoing, Lift Off, Clubland, The Crutch and Sugar Mummies), Almeida Theatre (including Ruined [6]), Chichester Festival Theatre (including Secret Rapture, Romeo & Juliet, and The Misanthrope), Hampstead Theatre, Birmingham Rep Theatre (including an adaptation of the Ramayana for Birmingham Rep which went on to perform at the National Theatre)[7][citation needed], Liverpool Everyman, Theatre Royal, Stratford East and St Ann's Warehouse, New York. She has also worked in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil, Uganda and India.[8][9][citation needed]

She has also directed radio plays for BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 3 and the BBC World Service.[10]

As Artistic Director (2012 - today)[edit]

Indhu Rubasingham succeeded Nicolas Kent as Artistic Director of the Tricycle Theatre in 2012. Rubasingham's inaugural production was Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti, which won an Evening Standard Award and a Critics' Circle Award,[11][12] the play is based on the story of Ira Aldridge, the first black actor to play Othello on a London stage in 1833.

Rubasingham directed Moira Buffini's Handbagged in autumn 2013, where it won an Olivier Award for 'Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre'[13] and transferred to the West End in 2014 with a subsequent National Tour in 2015.[14] Handbagged was also nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Comedy.[15][citation needed]

Other productions as artistic director directed by Rubasingham include Paper Dolls, The House That Will Not Stand, Multitudes, A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes and The Invisible Hand.

In August 2014, while she was artistic director, she was at the centre of an Antisemitism controversy over the funding of the UK Jewish Film Festival intended to have been held the theatre. [16]

In 2017, Indhu was awarded an MBE in the 2017 New Year Honours List.[16]

Also in 2017, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Hull.

Other awards include the Asian Women of Achievement Award[17] and the Liberty Human Rights Award.[18]

Rubasingham directed The Great Wave by Francis Turnly at the National Theatre in spring 2018.[19]

In April 2018, under her artistic leadership, the theatre changed its name from the Tricycle to the Kiln Theatre.[20]



  1. ^ Raffray, Nathalie. "MBE for Tricyle Theatre's artistic director". Kilburn Times. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Media & Entertainment – University of Hull". Archived from the original on 23 June 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  3. ^ Barnett, Laura (20 February 2013). "Indhu Rubasingham: artistic director, Tricycle theatre – profile". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  4. ^ "Indhu Rubasingham Masterclass". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  5. ^ Billington, Michael (18 June 2015). "The Motherfucker with the Hat review – sex, addiction and honour among dudes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  6. ^ "Ruined". Almeida Theatre. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  7. ^ "Indhu Rubasingham". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  8. ^ "Cuba - Royal Court". Royal Court. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  9. ^ "Indhu Rubasingham". Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  10. ^ "Indhu Rubasingham Masterclass". Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  11. ^ "Evening Standard Theatre Awards: why our judges chose the winners". London Evening Standard. 25 November 2012. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  12. ^ Masters, Tim (15 January 2013). "Adrian Lester named best actor at Critics' Circle Theatre Awards". BBC News. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  13. ^ Wyatt, Daisy (13 April 2014). "Oliviers 2014 winners list in full: Chimerica and The Book of Mormon were the big winners on Sunday nigh". The Independent. Retrieved 10 October 2017.
  14. ^ "Tour Dates Archive – Handbagged the Play". Handbagged the Play. Archived from the original on 25 August 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  15. ^ Walker, Tim (13 April 2014). "Handbagged, at Vaudeville Theatre, review". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  16. ^ "New Year's Honours 2017 – Press releases". Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 16 February 2017.
  17. ^ "Major award for Indhu Rubasingham – Asian Culture Vulture". Asian Culture Vulture. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  18. ^ "human rights awards". Liberty Human Rights. Retrieved 28 January 2017.
  19. ^ "The Great Wave | National Theatre". Retrieved 11 January 2018.
  20. ^ "Tricycle unveils first season as Kiln Theatre including Zadie Smith adaptation". The Stage. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.