Playwright Mustapha Matura has died aged 79.
Matura, who was born in Trinidad, is frequently described as one of the leading figures in black British theatre.
He died on October 29, his family has confirmed.
His works include Play Mas, which was revived at London’s Orange Tree Theatre in 2015, Rum and Coca Cola and Playboy of the West Indies, a Caribbean version of The Playboy of the Western World, which premiered in 1984 and was later adapted for BBC television.
Several of his plays were staged at the Tricycle Theatre in London. Its former artistic director Nicholas Kent, who was a friend of Matura’s said the playwright died after being taken ill on a flight.
Paying tribute to Matura, he said: “I first met Mustapha at the Traverse Theatre in 1971 where one of his first plays As Time Goes By was being produced.
“He was a brilliant playwright who, whilst often tackling serious themes, was always incisive, witty and entertaining.
“He was of the great pioneers of black writing in this country both in theatre and on television – winning the John Whiting Award and an Evening Standard Award.”
Kent described Matura as a “wonderful, fun and loyal friend”.
He added: “At the time of his death Clement Ishmael, Dominique Legendre, Mustapha and I were working on a musical version of [Playboy of the West Indies], which is hopefully going to be produced in 2021.
“His death is a huge shock coming just a few weeks before his 80th birthday – theatre in this country has lost one of its most powerful voices.”