I don’t believe a Black woman has played the role of Alice in Wonderland, so I guess that makes me the first. 

Not too long ago, in my teenage years, I fell through the looking glass and landed in a fantasy world called the ‘arts’ which was populated with peculiar creatures. I encountered new experiences such as the beautiful singing and choreography of the Lion King and the horse puppetry of the National Theatre’s War Horse. These incredible stories and spectacles captivated me and filled me with curiosity. So, of course, I dabbled in this world of art and tried to find my place. 

If you know Alice’s story, you’re aware that she’s a crier. As a minority, alienated, I struggle and cry. I had to learn the rules to each new encounter: only the white rabbit can play the white rabbit, I don’t fit the brief, but I’m passionate. How can I be passionate without being ‘overbearing’? I’m misunderstood. Underestimated. Overlooked. As I learned, the rules on each encounter were only set for me.  

My experience from each encounter leads me to adulthood, where I am a self-assured graduate from Exeter University, capable of speaking out against the nonsensical ideologies of this world. I didn’t literally change in size, I remain 5ft 1 in height. But my perspective changes, so I view the world from different angles. I realise that life in the arts isn’t any different from the wider world. I see an opportunity to use the arts to challenge the bias and prejudices that are ingrained within its structures. I see an opportunity to create a space where I, and others like me, belong. 

Through the looking glass, I am now an emerging artist. Constantly drifting behind the scenes as a playwright and on stage as an actor, I played the characters I was forbidden to and I wrote plays which told my story.

I find myself at Theatre Deli. A place where emerging artists, like myself, are supported. Where new spaces are discovered and transformed. Where bold innovative work is created, and boundaries are broken. 

A trainee producer, a new perspective. One which gives me a different view and perhaps a closer look at the structures of this world. A role which I hope will empower me and equip me with the skills and tools for fostering my desire to create social change.  

- Monique Day  

Monique is a Londoner who recently graduated from the University of Exeter, where she developed her passion for writing and toured her first two plays in the South West. When Monique is not watching Netflix, she is training at a part-time acting school and nurturing her ambitions to create social change through Theatre Deli as a trainee producer.