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Nicolas Kent is honoured for his transformation of Kilburn High Road playhouse

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The former artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre became the first person to be awarded the freedom of the borough yesterday evening (Wednesday).

Nick Kent, who stepped down from the role last week after 28 years, was given the honour for his ‘incredible’ work transforming the theatre in Kilburn High Road into internationally renowned playhouse.

Mr Kent was handed a scroll and received united praise from the leaders of the three main political parties in the borough during the ceremony held at Brent Council’s Annual General Meeting (AGM).

Speaking during the evening, which tied in with the 25th anniversary of a fire which ripped through the theatre, Mr Kent said: “I am absolutely overwhelmed as I so believe in this borough and I am honoured that the parties have all come together.

“To be receiving this award of the 25th anniversary of the fire that nearly devastated the theatre is such a special moment and shows how far the theatre has come.

“Brent is an amazing borough, with a wonderfully vibrant community that it has been an honour to serve.”

Cllr Ann John, making her last speech as leader of Brent’s Labour Party and council leader, lauded Mr Kent, saying: “It is with great pride and a terrific honour to bestow this honour on Nicolas Kent, who has been a fantastic servant to the borough.

“He has transformed the theatre and created a venue renowned for tackling some of the most controversial and unique issues we face.

“He has a unique gift and is connected in a way few others are and has bought some fantastic names to the theatre and made it one of the most exciting places to visit.”

Cllr John served as leader for 11 years until she was overthrown by Cllr Muhammed Butt, who was appointed her deputy in 2010.

The move was made official last night but Cllr John left the meeting before it was finalised, Cllr Butt did not make a speech as new leader.

During the meeting the council also honoured a selection of ‘community champions’, inspirational residents both young and old who have dedicated their time to volunteer work.

Cllr Aslam Choudry, former Mayor of Brent, signed off his year in office and Cllr Michael Adeyeye, a resident of Brent for 42 years was announced as his successor.

Nigerian born Cllr Adeyeye, who represents the Queen’s Park ward, revealed The Brent Association for Disabled People, the Sickle Cell Society and Rays of Sunshine, a children’s charity, as his chosen charities for the year.

Cllr Butt said: “His tireless work for the community makes him the perfect candidate for our next mayor.”

Cllr Bobby Thomas, councillor for the Kensal Green ward, was appointed as deputy mayor.

For a full account of the community champions including interviews see next week’s edition of the Brent and Kilburn Times.

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