Mustapha Matura

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Leading figure in British black theatre, Mustapha Matura, was awarded an honorary fellowship from Goldsmiths in 2016.

Born in 1939, as Noel Mathura, Matura changed his name when he became a writer, explaining: “I liked the sound of it. It was the sixties.”

In early life, Matura worked as a solicitor’s assistant in Trinidad, before moving to England in 1962. Having worked as a hospital porter for a year, Matura and fellow Trinidadian Horace Ové went to Rome, where Matura worked on stage productions such as Langston Hughes' Shakespeare in Harlem.

It was at this time that he decided to write plays about the West Indian experience in London. Matura has since been described as “our finest dramatist of West Indian origin” by Benedict Nightingale of The Times and “the most perceptive and humane of black dramatists writing in Britain” by the New Statesman.

Play Mas premiered at the Royal Court in 1974, before transferring to the West End, winning the Evening Standard Award for Best Play and the Most Promising Playwright Award. It was revived in 2015, attracting rave reviews.

Mustapha co-founded the Black Theatre Co-operative with the director Charlie Hanson in 1978.

In 1991, Matura received the Trinidad and Tobago Government Scarlet Ibis Award for achievement, and in 2014 was named the first recipient of the Alfred Fagon Award for Outstanding Contribution to Writing.