Kobna Holdbrook-Smith was a member of the repertory company formed by artistic director Nicolas Kent for the 2005–2006 African-American season at the Tricycle Theatre in north London. That company also included Jenny Jules, Joseph Marcell, Lucian Msamati, Carmen Munroe, and Nathan Osgood. In Walk Hard – Talk Loud by Abram Hill, a play originally produced in 1944 and set in New York in the late 1930s, Holdbrook-Smith played a young boxer who faces racism. In Lynn Nottage's contemporary satire Fabulation, he took on dual roles – the heroine's husband who absconds with her wealth, and the gentle ex-junkie who offers her love. And in August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, set in Pittsburgh in 1904, his Citizen Barlow seeks purification from the 285-year-old spiritual adviser Aunt Ester and is taken on a symbolic rite of passage. The Ghanaian-born Holdbrook-Smith also appeared at the Tricycle in 2004–2005 in Mustapha Matura's Playboy of the West Indies. Terry Stoller, who teaches at Baruch College in New York City and is working on a book project about the Tricycle Theatre, spoke with Holdbrook-Smith in June 2006 in Covent Garden, London.
* In conversation with Terry Stoller