Interviewer: You mentioned the audience earlier on for black theatre, how have you managed to bring in black audience? Because I lived in Kilburn for years, and came to the Tricycle quite a lot, I felt very at home here, and I think it was a lot to do with the environment as well. Are there any initiatives you' ve set up to attract black audiences?
Nicolas: Well we do as much as we can to get to a black audience by a) designing the publicity very much to make a black audience feel at home with that sort of publicity materials, so the print is very carefully monitored and we go and talk to black leaders in marketing and in different disciplines about the sort of print we' re creating. We try to get one or two black organisations on board to help us market. We market through, obviously local radio, the local press, and the black press. Also try in every way to make the building as welcoming as possible in the same way that you felt welcome in this building. We try to make sure that everyone in a culturally diverse London feels as welcome as possible that' s one of our main aims.
Interviewer: August Wilson body of work implies something about the roles and responsibilities of black writers living in Western societies. Do you think the black writers actually have a particular role within and responsibility to their community?
Nicolas: I think that black writers do have a role, they don' t only have role of trying to fight for the betterment of their community, but they have that added burden that, say, white writers don' t have. But any writer writing within a minority does have the majority culture, always has that problem. And I think most good black writing obviously looks at the struggle for equality for black people.
Interviewer: Professor Femiuba of Louisiana State University says that two distinct conditions can be said to have influenced black dramatic writing in general; one is slavery the other is colonisation. What conditions can be said to have influenced the black-British play?
Nicolas: Well I think to some extent colonisation has because obviously quite a lot of the beginnings of black-British plays were Caribbean plays. They were plays that were from Caribbean writers like Michael Abbensetts, Mustapha Matura and Barry Record who are drawing greatly on the Caribbean experience and obviously early plays from Errol Hill and Trevor Rhone also did that in the English language and Derek Walcott. So that generation was very Caribbean inspired and since then we' re moving forward now to what I would term I suppose as the urban British-black play which is exemplified in some of the work by Kwame Kweih-Armah and some of the works of Roy Williams and obviously the work of Winston Pinnock.
Interviewer: What is your opinion of August Wilson' s work and what do his plays says about the African-American experience?
Nicolas: Well August Wilson set himself an enormously complex task. He set out to write ten plays representing the ten decades of the last century of the African-American experience. All of which draw obviously on slavery and civil rights and so by taking these plays, looking at them all together you get a... get a wonderful picture of what' s happened to African-Americans in America over the last century. Each play has a very theatrical resonance and every one is very different. He wrote them in no particular order in fact the second from last Gem of the Ocean, which you are about to see, is the one that was written as number nine in the play although it represents the first decade of the last century. But all of them relate together with their theme, they make a very powerful form of theatre which is both a history lesson and an enormous emotional journey for people to take in.