The List: 10 things award-winning theatre director Weyni Mengesha can’t live without

The List: 10 things award-winning theatre director Weyni Mengesha can’t live without

Mengesha’s production of Kim’s Convenience is on at Soulpepper this month

The List: Weyni Mengesha
1| My djembe
I grew up around drums, and I’ve always been interested in African music. I got this one as a gift from Nation Cheong, my first drum teacher in Toronto. I get it tightened at African Drums and Art Crafts on Dundas, where I hang out a lot.

2| My bike
Riding my bike in Toronto makes me fall in love with the city. My old bike, a Trek hybrid that I had forever, was recently stolen. I’m going to get a new one in the spring, probably at Cogs Cycle in Riverdale. I can’t wait.

The List: Weyni Mengesha
3| My Libre tea holder
This was a gift from my fiancé. I mostly use it for drinking hot water with lemon. I rarely drink enough water during the day, so this has saved me.

4| My pie fix
Apple pie is a very serious thing for me. I never restrict it to the dessert category—it’s any place, any time. My friends know I’m addicted. If I’m going to a nice restaurant, I’ll check the dessert menu first to see if they have it.

The List: Weyni Mengesha
5| My neighbourhood hang
Rendez-vous Restaurant on the Danforth is like a second home to me. My parents’ friends all hang out there. The owner, Banchi, has known me for 15 years. And the food’s amazing—the vegetarian plate is the next best thing to my mom’s Ethiopian cooking.

The List: Weyni Mengesha
6| My green heels
I got my Kermit-green United Nude shoes at Balisi. They’re perfect for travelling because they dress up any outfit, which is a big deal if you’re a girl. If you wear bright shoes, you don’t have to wear any other colour.

The List: Weyni Mengesha
7| My MEC membership card
I grew up in Vancouver, and whenever I step into a Mountain Equipment Co-op, it reminds me of home. I love being outdoors. Immersing myself in nature is always the fastest way for me to unwind after a show.

8| My gabi
It’s like a shawl or a blanket made out of Ethiopian cotton. My mom brings one back from Ethiopia for me whenever she goes. Usually they’re white, but the last one she brought me was lime green, which I love.

The List: Weyni Mengesha
9| My pendant necklace
My best friends are a group of women I’ve known since we were all very young. They’re my supporters. They gave me this necklace for my birthday a couple of years ago, and I wear it all the time—sometimes I find myself rubbing it, almost like worry beads.

10| My pump-up tunes
If I were a boxer, I’d play Nina Simone before I stepped into the ring. She has this quiet, fearless power. Djanet Sears, my first theatre mentor, got me into Nina 10 years ago. I went out and bought her greatest hits box set, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

(Images: John Cullen)