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The Tricycle Theatre
269 Kilburn High Road
NW6 7JR
+44 (0) 20 7372 6611

Closest station: Kilburn

Matinee cinema:
Every Thursday and Friday at 2.30pm

Prices:
£6.50, Concession £5

Theatre and tea

Afternoon tea is a British tradition, and so is drama. Combine the two and you'll end up with another tradition: matinee performances at The Tricycle Cinema.

The Tricycle is an arts organisation in north London, housing political plays, gallery space and a cinema.

For 13 years now, the latter attracts film enthusiasts, especially on Thursday and Friday afternoons with reduced prices and a free cup of tea.

Gail Decons, the Front of House Manager, takes me on a little tour before the performance starts at 2.30pm. The cinema is completely empty, a rare scene and one that just doesn't feel right.

This will soon change when groups and individuals alike fill the pink upholstered chairs.

Popcorn not allowed

"The audience is appreciative of the art and ambience of the venue," Gail tells me and adds quickly: "We are a non-popcorn cinema! So you won't be hearing people munching away on their popcorn throughout the film."

I swap the popcorn for chocolate at the café bar and walk down the few steps. When I let myself slide into one of the pink seats, I overhear a woman in the row before me saying out loud that they have done it all up.

But I have only seen the cinema in the current state. Its beige curtain, dark blue carpet with little tricycles on in the same colour as well as the seating conjures up words like nostalgia rather than modernity.

Today's film is the reason for the more mature audience. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel features the crème de la crème of British actors including Judi Dench and manages to bridge the gap between the ages.

For grey afternoons

Besides mainstream films, the cinema in London is renowned for its independent and international programme.

During the awards season, the BAFTA awarded film The Skin I live In by Pedro and Agustin Almodóvar was shown.

"We try to tick every box," says Gail who has been with the Tricycle for five years. This also includes Question & Answer sessions, a black history month as well as screen-ins, including many local producers.

The Tricycle on Kilburn High Road is considered an institution with locals. It makes for a great afternoon filler and brings multiple facets to grey Thursdays and Fridays in the capital.

As Gail exclaims with a grin: "It's just a hidden gem."

Christine Liehr