Alan Ayckbourn is a playwright for whom the word 'prolific' would hardly do justice. Since his debut, The Square Cat, in 1959, he has written no fewer than 73 plays, with the latest My Wonderful Day being staged at Richmond Theatre next week.

The play is a bittersweet comedy that tells the story of nine-year-old Winnie, who spends the day with her mother in order to write an essay for school entitled, My Wonderful Day.

Winnie's mother is a cleaner and as the pair go from house-to-house, the young girl observes increasingly bizarre behaviour of the adults she encounters.

The production, which has already enjoyed a run off-Broadway, has been met with universal acclaim with much of the praise being reserved for the performance of Ayesha Antoine, a 28-year-old actress who has taken up the challenge of portraying Winnie.

Antoine says focusing on solely on the script was the key to portraying such a young character.

“Alan is renowned for writing very specific characters and I found that my hook was to just focus on the character itself,” she says.

“I've never played someone that young before but once you have a clear idea of the character that you are playing it makes it is easier and, of course, all of the physicality and the voice follows on from that.”

Ayckbourn is well-known for chronicling the foibles of white, middle-class surburbia, so My Wonderful Day marks something of a departure for the playwright, with the action being overseen by a young black girl.

“Watching the play through the filter of this very quiet child nine year old gives a different slant to the play,”says Antoine.

“A lot of the adult characters think that Winnie doesn't speak English and that they can talk to her however they wish to and whether a cleaner is white, black or Hispanic, there is always that dynamic that he or she is working for someone in their house.

“But what I like about the play is that is Alan doesn't feel the need to explore the fact that Winnie's mother is a black, single mother.”

As well as writing the play, Ayckbourn has taken the reins as director – how has she found working with such a such a totemic figure in British theatre?

“Beforehand I was excited about working with the name and once I met Alan I found him to be a trustworthy and liberating director,” she replies.

“He gave me so much confidence - after doing 73 plays, many of which have gone to the West End and Broadway, he knows what he is doing and has it down to a fine art.”

My Wonderful Day, Richmond Theatre, February 15 – 20, for more information and to book tickets, visit