My Wonderful Day: Behind The Scenes

Behind The Scenes offers a glimpse at some rarely known facts regarding the writing of Alan Ayckbourn's plays with material drawn from the Ayckbourn Archive at the University Of York and the playwright's personal archive.
  • The play was originally announced to the Stephen Joseph Theatre company with the title as Winnie's Wonderful Day. Alan Ayckbourn then gave permission for the first public announcement of the - at the time - correct title of Winnie's Wonderful Day during the Ayckbourn At 70 celebration at Northampton's Royal & Derngate theatre. It was announced on 23 May in the two festival's souvenir programmes, followed on 1 June by Alan mentioning it in an interview in the town's Image magazine. However, this title was then altered in mid-June 2009 to My Wonderful Day; the change apparently as a result of worries the title gave the impression it was one of Alan's family plays, rather than part of the 'adult' canon.
  • Prior to writing My Wonderful Day, there exists an undated hand-written plot synopsis in the Ayckbourn Archive for a play titled Life Of Riley (which bears little resemblance to the play with that title he later wrote). Within these concept notes, there is an 11 year old girl called Winnie Barnstairs who is receiving French tuition from one of the other characters in the play. In the concept, Winnie's mother is single but called Glynis. However, Winnie is a secondary character and the plot bears no resemblance to either My Wonderful Day or Life Of Riley and, obviously, Winnie does not appear in the written play Life Of Riley either.
  • Ayesha Antoine, who won plaudits for her portrayal of nine year Winnie, was actually 28 when she played the role. At the time, so convincing was Ayesha's portrayal, that there was general audience disbelief that Ayesha was actually 19 years older than Winnie!
Copyright: Simon Murgatroyd. Please do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.