From Toronto to L.A. and back again

Soulpep­per’s new artis­tic di­rec­tor, Weyni Menge­sha, re­turns to T.O., where she met her hus­band eight years ago by Nikki Gill

Bayview Post - - CURRENTS | HOW THEY MET -

Award-win­ning di­rec­tor Weyni Menge­sha is ditch­ing L.A. to re­turn to Toronto as the newly ap­pointed artis­tic di­rec­tor of Soulpep­per the­atre com­pany (get a sneak peek of Soulpep­per’s new mu­si­cal in the the­atre col­umn). She is best known for di­rect­ing

and among the many other pro­jets she’s worked on. Her hus­band, Eion Bai­ley, is an ac­tor best known for his tele­vi­sion roles in

and Post chat­ted with Menge­sha about her and Bai­ley’s love story How they met We met at Afro­fest in Toronto in 2011. He was play­ing a role on

at the time and a Toronto-based stunt­man (Moses Nyarko) who was do­ing a cou­ple days on an episode in­vited him to the fes­ti­val. Through mu­tual friends, we all ended up hanging out to­gether. At the end of the day, he asked me if I would like to grab a tea. The first date We went on our first date about a week af­ter we met. It was at Sas­safraz. There was a lit­tle party hap­pen­ing there. We ate din­ner and danced. The courtship Well, be­cause we lived in dif­fer­ent cities, our dates were a week or two long at times. He would come to Toronto or I would go to L.A. Or we would pick an­other city to meet in. So it was a whirl­wind ro­mance. I think we were ba­si­cally liv­ing to­gether in six months. The wed­ding We woke up one morn­ing about a year into our re­la­tion­ship — madly in love — and de­cided we should get mar­ried soon. We were mar­ried by the end of the day. On the way to the courts, we picked up my best friend who was dy­ing to know where we were go­ing look­ing so fancy. She was our wit­ness. We are still plan­ning the party. (I prom­ise, Mom, it is go­ing to hap­pen!) Our 10-year an­niver­sary is com­ing up! The kids Bal­anc­ing careers and mar­riage It is not easy, that is for sure, but we just take it day by day. Date nights are im­por­tant to us. We love talk­ing about our work with each other be­cause we are both ob­sessed with sto­ries. The tough part is fig­ur­ing out how to con­tinue to carve out time for our­selves be­tween work­ing in dif­fer­ent cities at times and tak­ing care of our kids. Shared hob­bies Any­thing to do with sto­ry­telling, of course, as well as po­etry, camp­ing, snow­board­ing, trav­el­ling. We both love the out­doors. We also both have had pas­sion projects in com­mu­nity devel­op­ment and so­cial work. The home We are just mak­ing the move to Toronto, so it is still a mys­tery where we will land. We want to be close to Soulpep­per, of course. Topanga Canyon is where we have been for the last four years in Cal­i­for­nia. It is where we had our se­cond son. It is 10 min­utes to the beach and in the moun­tains. It has been a beau­ti­ful place to raise our kids.

“Be­cause we lived in dif­fer­ent cities, our dates were a week or two long.”

Se­cret to suc­cess Hard work and lots of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. I think the most im­por­tant part of our recipe for hap­pi­ness is un­plug­ging and spend­ing time with fam­ily and our com­mu­nity. We host a lot of events, even in our home. It brings us joy. We also try and do no work or work-re­lated things on Sun­days — sun up to sun down. We get up with the boys, pack lunches and get lost in what­ever city we are in. They are mag­i­cal days for us. Life af­ter re­tire­ment Lots of trav­el­ling. I would love to spend more time in Ethiopia. I would love to do more work there and have my boys ex­pe­ri­ence the coun­try. Eion is ex­cited about that too. Laugh­ing, lov­ing, and hope­fully still mak­ing the­atre and film.

Menge­sha, Bai­ley and their two sons

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