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Antonia Prebble’s wedding plans

The beloved actress is juggling two little ones while planning a ceremony, a play and her Shortland Street debut!

The push and pull of work and domestic life are familiar to many women, but Antonia Prebble says that, for her at least, 2022 has seemed particularly intense.

“I don’t know if it’s been the same for other people, but it’s felt like an immense bullet train going really fast with a lot of luggage onboard,” she laughs. “Life does seem very full at the moment and I don’t get much time to myself, but I’m OK with that because the life I have is full of things I love.”

While her career is still important, the star of iconic shows like Outrageous Fortune and Westside is at a different life stage now, and it’s one where family comes first. She’s focused on spending as much time as possible with sons Freddie, three, and Gus, 13 months, while they are small, even if that means saying no to amazing opportunities she once might have jumped at.

As ruthless Rita in Westside with Todd Emerson.

“Before I had kids, I was very firmly focused on career ambition – it was the main driver of my life,” explains Antonia, 38. “Now, I still want to grow and develop in my career, but it has to fit into my more important goal, which is to have a secure, happy domestic life within which to raise the boys. So actually, it’s made life quite simple in lots of ways.”

It has been a joy to watch Freddie growing into a friendly, sweet little boy who loves animals. “He won’t leave the house unless he has at least six tiny toy animals in his hands,” tells Antonia.

Meanwhile, people tend to remark on what a happy, smiley baby Gus is. “He’s also very determined and knows what he wants,” admits Antonia. “At the moment, his favourite thing is to be carried around and he just points to where he wants to be taken.”

While parenting two kids has been an adjustment, the little brothers already have a strong bond.

“Freddie is really looking forward to Gus being older because basically he wants to wrestle him all the time,” says Antonia. “Gus is keen to wrestle back to a certain extent, but there’s a massive disparity in size and ability at the moment, so usually we have to intervene.”

Antonia met the father of her boys, fiancé Dan Musgrove, on the set of Westside and says she is fortunate because not only is he a very hands-on dad, but since he is more focused on writing than acting these days, he has a reasonably flexible schedule too. That meant that recently, when Antonia was offered a role in Melbourne on new drama series Safe Home, the whole family was able to spend five weeks there together.

Now Antonia is juggling her first theatre performance in nine years with her acting debut on local soap Shortland Street and is grateful to be able to rely on Dan, their amazing nanny and extended family.

Antonia’s bringing the “amens” to Shortland Street as Church leader Rebekah.

On stage, she is starring in Auckland Theatre Company’s production of the Alfred Hitchcock classic North By Northwest, which is, says Antonia, a brilliant and very fun show that is challenging her as an actress. And on screen, she is appearing as Rebekah Anderson, the head of a church that some key Shorty characters get involved with.

“My main worry is my energy levels because with the kids, you can’t always guarantee you’ll get a good night’s sleep. But I have great support around me and I’m sure we’ll find a way through.”

Antonia is particularly conscious that this is an adjustment for Gus as it means being apart from him for longer stretches than she is used to.

“I’ll either go home at lunchtime or there’s a very convenient park just across from the rehearsal studio, so I can dash across there, feed Gus, play with Freddie a bit, then come back to work,” she explains.

Along with her two new roles, Antonia has also been working on another podcast, set to launch next year, and she and Dan are developing a couple of TV shows together.

Shaken and stirred: With Ryan O’Kane in North by Northwest.

Between the busyness of work and family, one thing has derailed and that is the couple’s ongoing attempt to plan a wedding.

Antonia and Dan became engaged in 2018 after a romantic proposal on a trip to Tasmania, but life has conspired against them actually walking up the aisle. Between two pregnancies, a devastating fire that destroyed their home and a series of lockdowns, it has never quite felt like the right time.

“We’re now thinking that we won’t to do it until 2024,” Antonia shares. “The idea of organising something for next year seemed too much and the following year the boys will be older, which will make everything easier – they’ll be the cutest page boys.”

It’s a happy juggle for Antonia and Dan, who have Outrageous fun with sons Freddie and Gus.

As a marriage celebrant, she is a big believer in having a beautiful ceremony to cement your relationship in front of everyone you love.

“I think it’s a lovely thing to do in life and it carries a lot of meaning,” she enthuses.

“The good thing about being a celebrant is I’ve seen so many weddings now, so I can kind of zero in on what seems right for us.”

Meanwhile, fashion lover Antonia continues adding to the overflowing album in her Photos app that is dedicated to wedding gowns.

“My ideas about what kind of dress I want keep changing, so I can’t make a decision until I know for sure what year we’re getting married.”

Antonia stars in Auckland Theatre Company’s season of North By Northwest at the ASB Waterfront Theatre from 25 October to 19 November. Get tickets at atc.co.nz.

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