ALRA regularly host professional actors and practitioners to motivate and inspire our students in preparation for work in the industry. Guests have included the exciting playwright Anna Jordan, Alumni Chris Ashby - ALRA Alumni who has just finished a national tour of The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night-time and TV director Pip Short to ALRA North and ALRA Alumni, actress Denise Gough at ALRA South.
Pat Cumper is an award-winning playwright, producer, director, arts administrator and cultural leader who is a passionate advocate for the arts. She visited our South campus earlier this year to talk to our students about Black Actors in the UK, Black History in theatre and to share her experiences on how to survive in this industry.
Patricia isn't just a member of the theatre industry, as her works and importance in the British theatre history extends to being awarded an MBE for her services to the arts.
Director of Talawa, the UK's largest black-led theatre company
Cumper covered several roles in the UK's largest black-led theatre company, Talawa, from about 1999, including writing, script writing, tutoring and more. From 2006 to 2012 until the end of their 25th anniversary season, she was the artistic director of Talawa.
Pat became a trustee of the British Museum in 2013 and her writing has recently aired on the BBC - a radio series of Toni Morrison’s ‘Beloved’. See link here
As Director of Talawa, she was interested in stories that explored the full range of the black British experience. It was those stories that mould universal theatre plots and feelings rather than ghettoising black experience which is nothing more than an archetypal representation.
For Patricia the genre (romances, comedies, musicals, etc) is a sort of vessel to display topics that are important for her: examination of class and history, and the synergies created when immigrants arrive.