Monique Wilson

Monique Wilson

Monique Wilson is one of the Philippine’s veteran theatre and film actresses ­ having acted professionally since the age of nine. At 18 she starred as the lead role in the original London West End production of Miss Saigon. In 1994, at 24 years old, she went back to the Philippines and founded the New Voice Company (NVC) theatre group, with a vision to awaken, inspire and transform Philippine audiences with socially provocative and innovative political theatre work. Her theatre group has produced The Vagina Monologues in the Philippines since 2000 and V-Day events since 2001, and helped change the laws on sex trafficking and domestic violence with performances in the Philippine Senate and Congress. The company has also produced The Vagina Monologues in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, and Eve Ensler’s THE GOOD BODY in the Philippines. As NVC’s Artistic Director, Monique has steered the company into one of Asia’s leading theatre companies, producing a diversity of shows ­ from the Asian premiere of “Angels in America” in 1995, to a devised theatrical piece on the plight of street children (in collaboration with the David Glass company, UK), to their acclaimed original production ­ “Revolutionary Hearts” about activism, revolution and nationhood. Their recent original production was “The Male Voice” ­ exploring roots of violence in Filipino men.

As an actor, she has done over 150 productions in her 40-year career. Recently she starred in the musical “Fun Home” and the original musical “The Great Wall” – both in Singapore. In the Philippines she also recently starred as Philippine revolutionary Apolinario Mabini in Tanghalang Pilipino’s original Filipino steampunk musical “Mabining Mandirigma” – a musical about the Philippine revolution against the United States, where she earned critical acclaim.

Monique has received numerous awards as an actress including the ALIW Award for Best actress for “Cabaret” the musical, and the URIAN best supporting actress for the film “Kapag Iginuhit Ang Hatol ng Puso”. She has also received numerous awards for her contributions to theatre and activism, including the TOWNS (The Outstanding Women of the Nation ­ Philippines) Award (for Theatre and Culture), the Outstanding Artist of Manila Award (for Theatre and the Arts), Parangal Ng Bayan (Honor of the Country) Award for Theatre, and the FAMAS Film Foundation Special Award. In 2012 she was awarded the “Light of Culture” Lifetime Achievement Award by UNESCO and the International Theatre Institute for her work in theatre and activism in the Philippines. In 2013 Monique received the Hildegarde Lifetime Achievement Award – given by St. Scholastica’s College in the Philippines, for her lifetime contribution to art, culture and empowerment of women and girls through her theatre and activism work. Her most recent award was as one of the 100 most influential Filipinas in the world for 2014 – awarded by the Filipina Women’s Network (FWN) based in San Francisco. Monique was the sole awardee for the prestigious “Nicole” award. This award honours Filipina women whose words, actions and activism inspires others to act and revolutionise society’s way of understanding traditional beliefs and customs thus leaving behind a Filipino global imprint. “Nicole”, who sparked an international dialogue about women’s rights, national sovereignty and international law, as she steadfastly pursued justice against her rapist, a US marine stationed in the Philippines, inspired this category. Her other recent award also includes the Boy Abunda LGBTQIA+ Awards (BALA) honoring LGBTQIA+ leaders in Philippine society who have made significant contributions to create further visibility of and raise awareness about LGBTQIA+ advocacy struggles.

Monique is a member of GABRIELA ­ a national alliance of grassroots women’s organizations in the Philippines, and is GABRIELA’S Director of International Affairs. She is also the international spokesperson for the Purple Rose Campaign (a campaign to end sex trafficking of Filipina women and children). She has spearheaded campaigns for the LILA PILIPINA comfort women group of the Philippines and performed an excerpt from “The Vagina Monologues” at the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal for Comfort Women in 2000. She also spoke and performed at V-Day’s V to the Tenth celebrations in New Orleans. In 2012 Monique was one of the judges in the International Migrants Tribunal on the GFMD (Global Forum on Migration and Development) held in Manila, which found 35 countries guilty of exploiting grassroots migrants.

She took up theatre at the University of the Philippines and at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). She has an MA in Theatre Education and Applied Theatre from the Central School of Speech and Drama, London. Her MA dissertation was on Art and Activism, graduating with distinctions. She is one of the Founders of the Kalayaan (Freedom) College in the Philippines.

In 2014, Monique left a five year post as head of the MA/MFA Acting International course, which she spearheaded, at the East 15 Acting School in London ­ where she trained postgraduate international actors from over 45 countries, and where she organized V-Day events and directed political plays, to become Global Director of One Billion Rising.

ONE BILLION RISING, now on it’s 9th year, is a global movement to end violence against women (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender-based violence). It is a massive art and activism campaign that centers dance, as well as other art forms, as tools for creative resistance, radical transformation and revolution. It takes place every February and March in over 200 countries. The campaign began as a call to action based on the staggering statistic that 1 in 3 women on the planet will be beaten or raped during her lifetime. With the world population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION WOMEN AND GIRLS.

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