On the Couch with Anya Tate-Manning

Anya Tate-Manning - photo by Andi CrownWho is Anya Tate-Manning?
Anya Tate-Manning is an award winning Performer, Director and Writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. She currently works as an Acting Tutor at Toi Whakaari; New Zealand Drama School, where she teaches clowning and solo theatre making. For the last two years Anya has been touring festivals in New Zealand, Australia and Scotland with her award winning show My Best Dead Friend. Anya has performed poetry at Glastonbury Festival, a solo cabaret about Admiral Ackbar in the NZ Comedy festival, and a marionette puppet show of Pulp Fiction at Edinburgh Fringe 3 years in a row. Anya toured NZ in 2017 with Silo Theatre’s hit show Hudson and Halls Live! and is the co-founder of the longest running Political Satire show currently on New Zealand’s stages; Public Service Announcements, which has now produced 16 original productions. Anya trained at Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, Otago University and has an MA in scriptwriting from the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I’d eat more pancakes. I’ve spent so much of my life not eating pancakes.

Who inspires you and why?
I have a lot of amazing friends, mostly women, mostly artists, that are a huge inspiration to me. They are writers, comedians, theatre directors, film makers and performers. They are mothers and daughters and widows. They are funny and honest and strong. Old friends who always tell me the truth, new friends who are always ready to eat dumplings, and coven of witches who will assemble at a moments notice for triumph of tragedy.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I try to make people laugh. I think it helps in a tiny way – when we laugh we open our hearts and it creates more empathy in the world. More empathy means less suffering, in my mind. But if I could do something different, I’d like to think I’d be a doctor or a nurse, or something actually useful. I’ve just got to get over my fear of needles, and blood, and people….

Favourite holiday destination and why?
The place where I grew up – the East Coast of Otago in the Lower South Island. When I’m there I can breathe properly, my feet are connected to the earth, and I know who I am. It’s beautiful, with a devastating history, and the people are reserved but straight up awesome.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
In Wellington I’d take them to my home – it’s an apartment in the city and I love it! Also its got central heating – which is extremely unusual in New Zealand – our houses are normally very cold! Honestly no one can believe how warm it is when they come visit me, it’s ridiculous, we talk about it for hours. Then I’d take them out for noodles, there’s so many good noodle places in Wellington.

What are you currently reading?
Nothing – I stopped reading as soon as soon as Netflix was invented. It’s shameful – but how does anyone get anything done anymore? I’ve also recently got into audio books, they’re so good when you’re travelling and stuck in cues for hours and hours. I just listened to Good Omens by Neil Gaiman – a great cast recording.

What are you currently listening to?
I’m completely addicted to Lizzo. It’s like she’s written all her songs just for me.

Happiness is?
Lizzo. Wine. Friends. Pancakes.

What does the future hold for you?
I’ve got no idea most of the time. But I’m learning to stare into the void optimistically. And I’ve got a great job at the New Zealand Drama School, where I get to work with heaps of amazing students and staff. I’ve also started to direct short films, which is very exciting.

Anya has co-created and performs My Best Dead Friend at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres: 11 & 12 October 2019. For more information, visit: www.riversideparramatta.com.au for details.

Image: Anya Tate-Manning – photo by Andi Crown