My Secret Wellington: Ania Upstill

Theatre practitioner Ania Upstill, pictured on Oriental Pde, enjoys swimming in and cycling around Wellington's many ...
MONIQUE FORD/ FAIRFAX NZ

Theatre practitioner Ania Upstill, pictured on Oriental Pde, enjoys swimming in and cycling around Wellington's many bays, and treating herself to Malaysian cuisine.

Ania Upstill is a Wellington-based theatre practitioner and artistic director of The Lord Lackbeards Touring Company. She was nominated for Most Promising New Director at the 2015 Wellington Theatre Awards. She has trained with Zen Zen Zo Physical Theatre, at Shakespeare's Globe in London and studied Shakespeare Through Performance at the University of Texas in Austin. Upstill has enjoyed Shakespeare since playing the lion in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the age of 6. She is directing this year's Summer Shakespeare, Love's Labours Lost at the Wellington Botanic Gardens from February 13 to 27.

Where do you go to feel inspired?

The sea. There's nothing like a swim to clear your mind. My particular favourite is Balaena Bay, although I most often just pop down to Oriental. I started swimming in September, so the water has stopped feeling cold!

Ania Upstill at Oriental Bay.
MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ

Ania Upstill at Oriental Bay.

What art/artist/performer/music has best captured your sense of Wellington?

Barbarian Productions. Their work is bold, smart, a little bit cheeky and talks to the community. It best captures what I love most about Wellington and its theatre scene.

Where do you go for a night out with your partner or a friend?

I really love La Boca Loca in Miramar, which definitely has the best Mexican food in Wellington. Closer to town, Rasa on Cuba St does amazing vegetarian dosai with fabulous chutneys on the side. That said, my partner Hilary and I are both theatre practitioners, so quite often a night out is based at Bats Theatre.

Best pick for a cheap and cheerful meal?

Anywhere Malaysian. Satay Kingdom is a personal favourite. I love Malaysian food. I missed it a lot when I lived in the United States. Unbelievably, San Francisco doesn't have a single Malaysian restaurant, despite being a so-called foodie paradise.

Where do you go for good coffee?

For an espresso, I go to Red Rabbit on Leeds St. You just can't beat their dedication. Alternatively, I am sometimes really in the mood for bottomless filter coffee, and in that case I'll head to Six Barrel Soda, who have Peoples Coffee. Filter coffee brings back fond memories of when I lived in the US, and they have such great, cheerful decor.

Where do you take out-of-towners when they're visiting?

Wellington Museum, the Botanic Gardens, and Red Rocks Reserve, although not so much in winter. Generally, lots of cafes in Cuba St so they can feel that special Wellington buzz.

Describe your perfect Saturday or Sunday?

I rehearse on Saturdays, so let's go with Sunday. A waffle brunch, with a bunch of friends coming over as we churn out waffles for a few hours. Then maybe a potter about in the garden, a bike ride into town and a visit to either a gallery or the beach. That said, if there's a good protest on, I'll be there!

Interislander ferry and walkers near Red Rocks Reserve, one of Ania Upstill's favourite places to take visitors.
FAIRFAX NZ

Interislander ferry and walkers near Red Rocks Reserve, one of Ania Upstill's favourite places to take visitors.

What's your favourite neighbourhood haunt?

Monterey in Newtown. I'm still always so pleased to be able to draw on the brown paper it has put down as table cloths. Plus, it has a good selection of beer and food.

What's your favourite place for a walk or to get into nature?

I love biking around the bays, especially around the rugged Miramar Peninsula. It's quite easy to feel like you're completely outside of the city around there, and you sometimes even see penguins. We also live right down the street from the Green Belt, so it's easy to get away and take a walk. It's not hard to go for a beautiful walk in Wellington!

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What's your favourite Wellington shop or store?

I generally shop second-hand, so I'm going to go with Opportunity for Animals in Newtown. A great cause, and a great selection of goods. Otherwise, Bicycle Junction to look at the pretty bikes.

 - Stuff

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