Renowned British playwright Patricia Cumper visits London Met for guest talk

The award winning playwright visited London Met as part of the ‘In Conversation With’ series, created to engage with local college students.

Date: 11 January 2024

London Met was thrilled to have Patricia Cumper as the second speaker in our ‘In Conversation With’ series. Chaired by Rishi Trikha (Associate Professor in Theatre Arts at London Metropolitan University), the discussion was wide ranging, covering the different roles and opportunities in the arts industry, how storytelling differs in various mediums and its importance in difficult times. “We are part human, part story,” Patricia remarked, quoting the award-winning novelist Ben Okri. 

Reflecting on her extensive career as a playwright, producer/director and Artistic Director of Talawa Theatre Company, the UK’s largest Black-led theatre company, Patricia stressed the importance of knowing your destination as an artist.

The multi-talented artist also spoke of playwrights such as debbie tucker green, and the strengths of knowing the sector in all its modes (from stage management, lighting and sound, producing and directing). “A wide base of knowledge can offer someone a good chance of success in the world of arts and culture but not just that; training in the performing arts provides one with useful soft skills, vital in any working environment.”

The audience, made up of college students as well as London Met students and staff, listened to some of Patricia’s work, including her current series on Radio 4 Faith, Hope and Glory.  Patricia also fielded questions around a writer’s ‘right to offend’, and how cultural specificities can get lost when working in different modes and as well in translation. 

Rishi Trikha said, “I was happy to see that so many of our BA Theatre & Performance and BA Theatre & Film students attended alongside students from outside of London Met.  We have weekly visits from professionals as part of the course but Patricia was an extraordinarily inspiring guest.  I especially appreciated her insights about working flexibly across different professions in the performing arts, which is exactly what we train our students to do”. 

London Met looks forward to continuing the ‘In Conversation With’ series in 2024 with two new writers and performers which will be announced later this January.  

Patricia Cumper being interviewed by Rishi Trikha for London Met's 'In Conversation With' series