Shaw Theatre’s Natasha Mumba offstage tour of Niagara-on-the-Lake

Appearing in both Alice in Wonderland as Miss Agnes Grace Weld and as Black Girl in The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God means Natasha Mumba has been busy since moving to Niagara-on-the-Lakefour months ago to work with the Shaw Theatre Festival. Born in Zambia, the 24-year-old attended high school in Ottawa and studied theatre in Montreal. Though her days and nights are currently filled with rehearsals and performances, she plots a relaxing day away from work enjoying the best of her new home of NOTL.

Work it
“I’ll usually start off by going to the gym. I love the Pillar and Post Gym because it is a luxury location. It’s got pools and hot springs and creates an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re on vacation even when you’re just a five-minute bike ride from work. So I will work out, then sit by the hot springs and pool for a little bit.”

Nature and nuture
“If it’s a really nice day, I try to be outside. I live on the main strip on Queen Street, a five-minute walk from the water. There’s this white gazebo and you can see Toronto right across the water from it. It’s a great view. I usually take a book — I am reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah right now, which is going to be turned into a movie with Lupita Nyong’o. She’s kind of in the spotlight — she’s in a Beyoncé song! She’s a great African feminist writer and I really enjoy her books.”

Treat yourself
“Everything I do involves food somehow. I’m constantly eating. There is a store here called Ten Thousand Villages  it has fair-trade everything. I get my chocolate there. And there is a new pizza place called Pieza Pizzeria that opened right in front of my house — it’s gourmet Italian pizza and it’s unbelievable. The challenge is not eating there every day because it’s just so convenient.”

Bike it off
“Any opportunity to take a bike ride is always a great idea — there are some really good paths around here. I will get a chai tea latte from Starbucks or just go for a ride and come home.”

Shop savvy
“There’s a big thrifty shopping scene here with the actors. We try our best to get second-hand items and I’m highly impressed by what people accomplish. We’ll go down to Plato’s Closet in St. Catharines where you can find a whole assortment of things from jeans and tops to dresses and jewellery. I recently purchased a long-sleeved tunic shirt from there that I really love.”

G is for gelato
“There’s a great gelato place called Il Gelato de Carlotta. They have this thing I’d like to try — it’s on a grilled bun so it’s like a toasted ice-cream sandwich, which I’d probably get with the Nutella flavour. I love Nutella. I really want it right now, but I am waiting for the right day to reward myself. That might be after The Black Girl opens.”

Steak supper
“The Garrison House has a really great steak. It’s a really intimate place and a little fancy, but the prices aren’t ridiculous, which can be the case around here. It’s right next to where the food trucks are going to be — there’s a field designated for them. I hear they are amazing, and the  community of fruit and vegetable markets. I’m excited for the natural produce!”

Night cap
“I’m not much of a drinker, but there is a new popular brewery called The Exchange Brewery. The Backhouse is the best place for cocktails so you could end the night there. They have a lot of local wines, which is one of the main things that brings people in.” 

The Shaw Theatre Festival runs in Niagara-on-the-Lake until Oct. 23, 2016

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