Cumper grew up in Jamaica, with her English father and Jamaican mother. She followed her parents to study at Cambridge University, for which she won a scholarship, to study Archaeology and Anthropology at Girton College. While there, Cumper was a College Exhibitioner and was awarded a full swimming Blue, and captained the team.
After graduating, Cumper returned to Jamaica, where she became a playwright, before returning to Britain in 1993 to continue her career.
In 2013 she was awarded an MBE for services to the arts.
She has sons and grandsons, whom she describes as "the great joys of her life".
Cumper began writing after watching a play of which she was critical, and being challenged to do better. She wrote a play called The Rapist, which ran for six months and won an award. She continued to write and also produced plays, winning four awards for her work, which was produced in the Caribbean, the USA and Canada. She moved to Britain in 1993 to pursue her career.
She became artistic director of Talawa in 2006 and stepped down in 2012, after overseeing their 25th anniversary season.
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- "Patricia Cumper ends five-year run at Talawa". The Stage. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2014.
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