Born Noel Mathura in Trinidad, he changed his name when he became a writer, and has explained: "I liked the sound of it.... It was the sixties."
Leaving the Caribbean, he travelled to England by ship in 1962, and after a year working as a hospital porter he and fellow Trinidadian Horace Ové went to Rome, where he worked on stage productions such as Langston Hughes' Shakespeare in Harlem. Matura thereafter decided to write plays about the West Indian experience in London.
In 1971 his play As Time Goes By was first performed at the Traverse Theatre Club in Edinburgh and in London the Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre, with a cast of Caribbean actors, including Stefan Kalipha, Alfred Fagon, Mona Hammond and Corinne Skinner-Carter. Play Mas was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 1974 (with Stefan Kalipha, Rudolph Walker, Norman Beaton and Mona Hammond in the cast), winning Matura the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Playwright Award that year. Among his subsequent plays are Rum and Coca Cola (1976), Independence (1979), and The Coup (1991).
In 1978, he co-founded the Black Theatre Co-operative (now called Nitro) together with British director Charlie Hanson. "Frustrated by the lack of interest from London Fringe theatres in Matura's new play Welcome Home Jacko, Matura and Hanson set up their own theatre company. Welcome Home Jacko was presented at the 'Factory' in Paddington, west London, in May 1979 and marked the beginnings of the Black Theatre Co-operative. The company supported, commissioned and produced work by black writers in Britain."
- Playboy of the West Indies (1984)
- As Time Goes By (1971)
- Black Pieces (ICA, 1970)
- Bakerloo Line (Almost Free, 1972)
- Play Mas (1974)
- Rum and Coca Cola (1976)
- Independence (1979)
- Welcome Home Jacko (1978)
- Nice (1973)
- Meetings (1982)
- Trinidad Sisters (based on Chekhov's Three Sisters; 1988)
- The Coup (Cottesloe Theatre, 1991)
Mustapha Matura is also a poet,in Bayswater,West London ( 1971 ) he performed his epic poem Elae Elae Ghanga to a standing ovation.
Mustapha Matura has received a number of awards throughout his career, in the UK and in Trinidad.
- 1994 : The Helen Hayes Award.
- 1991 : Trinidad National Award - The Scarlet Ibis Gold.
- 1974 : The Evening Standard Most Promising Playwright Award.
- 1971 : The John Whiting Award.
- 1971 : The George Devine Award.
- "'Ter Speak in yer mudder tongue': An interview with playwright Mustapha Matura" in Kwesi Owusu (ed.), Black British Culture & Society, Routledge, 2000.
- Mustapha Matura's Website
- Mustapha Matura on Living in London
- Mustapha Matura at the British Film Institute's Screenonline