Athol Fugard was born in Middelburg, South Africa in 1932.
He is white with English and Afrikaner parents. He was brought up in Port Elizabeth, South Africa with English as his mother tongue. After some acting experience he started writing plays, almost always set in South Africa and steeped in the politics of the day (apartheid and now post-apartheid). However the politics never affects his insight into people. Like Tennessee Williams, Fugard creates characters with strengths and weaknesses which make them unable to fit into what society requires.
In 1963 he was working with the Serpent Players. Often he works with the actor Zakes Mokae, including on Blood Knot which lead to his passport being withdrawn.
Fugard's plays have been regularly premiered in fringe theatres in South Africa (non-segregated), London (The Royal Court Theatre) and New York. Some of his plays are grouped together: The Port Elizabeth plays, the Township plays and the Statement plays. His latest play is The Captain's Tiger.