Michael Abbensetts was born in Guyana. He attended Queen's College from 1952-56, before continuing his education in Quebec, Canada, at the boarding school, Stanstead College. After attending Sir George Williams University in Montreal from 1960-1961, Abbensetts was inspired to pursue playwriting after seeing a performance of John Osbornes Look Back in Anger. He took further inspiration from a visit to the Royal Court Theatre, London, where he was to have his first play, Sweet Talk, performed in 1973, for which he received the George Devine Award. He became the Resident Dramatist at the Royal Court a year later and during the 1970s and 80s a number of his plays were produced for the London stage. As well as his theatre pursuits, Abbensetts has written numerous dramas for television, including Empire Road (1978-79), Britain's first black soap opera. In 1979, he received an award for an Outstanding Contribution to Literature by a black writer. He became the visiting professor of drama at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University in 1981, and has also been a fellow at the City and Guilds of London School of Art, amongst other British universities. Much of Abbensetts' work has raised issues of race and power; however, he has always been unwilling to be confined to issue-based drama.


Title Date Publisher
Sweet Talk 1973 Plays and Players, Vol.20, No.11
Sweet Talk 1974 Methuen Publishing
Four Plays: Sweet Talk; Alterations; In the Mood; El Dorado 2001 Oberon Modern Playwrights

Critical sources

Title Date Publisher