Patricia Cumper

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Patricia Cumper MBE FRSA (born 1954) is a playwright, producer, director, theatre administrator, critic and commentator.[1][2]


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.[1][2][3]

After graduating, Cumper returned to Jamaica, where she became a playwright, before returning to Britain in 1993 to continue her career.[4]

In 2013 she was awarded an MBE for services to the arts.[5]

She has sons and grandsons, whom she describes as "the great joys of her life".[4]


Cumper has written a large number of plays both for the stage and radio, episodes of Westway, short stories, and a novel, One Bright Child, published in 1998.[6]

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.[2][4]

Cumper worked for the UK's largest Black-led theatre company, Talawa, from about 1999, as a writer, script reader, tutor, assistant director and dramaturge.[4][6]

She became artistic director of Talawa in 2006 and stepped down in 2012, after overseeing their 25th anniversary season.[7]

Cumper became a trustee of the British Museum in 2013.[1]

In January 2015, Cumper's adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel Beloved was broadcast in ten episodes by BBC Radio 4 as part of its 15 Minute Drama programme.[8]


  1. ^ a b c "Government appointments". Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Morgan, Marjorie (22 September 2011). "Biography - Patricia Cumper". Historical Geographies. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Jackson, Sophia (3 May 2011). "Patricia Cumper". Afrizidiak. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Trustee - Patricia Cumper". Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Gruner, Peter (4 January 2013). "Queen's New Year Honours". Islington Tribune. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Patricia Cumper Interview". WriteWords. 6 April 2006. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  7. ^ "Patricia Cumper ends five-year run at Talawa". The Stage. 29 June 2011. Retrieved 10 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "15 Minute Drama, Beloved Episode 1 of 10". BBC Online. Retrieved 4 January 2016.