The panel of judges, who will be adjudicating the 2014 Arts & Culture TrustImpACT Awards for Young Professionals, has been announced. A group of well-known and respected professionals working across a variety of contextswill convene to judge this year’s entries for the ImpACT Awards. They are: theatre personality Caroline Smart, visual artist David Koloane, arts education and heritage activistNadia Virasamy, 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre Prince Lamla and culture and craft mentor Eugenie Drakes. 

Public nominations for the ImpACT Awards for Young Professionals, sponsored by the Distell Foundation, are currently open till the 8th of August in the following four categories: Visual Art, Theatre, Music & Singing and Design. These awards are presented annually to honor young artists who have reached a professional standing in their discipline, and are within the first five years of their professional careers.

“Every year The Arts and Culture Trust honours four ImpACT Awards to young professionals on their achievements in the first five years of their careers.  The judges look for impressive progress and excellence in both the individual and the impact that they have made in their communities.  ACT is committed to supporting their development path and ultimate success” explains Caroline Smart. 

Smart, who is the convener of the panel and an ACT Trustee, is a multi-award winning and well-known Durban theatre personality who has been involved in the professional performing arts world for over 45 years.She wears many “hats”: trained actress, voice production coach (speech), director and scriptwriter as well as television presenter/producer. She is an experienced radio drama actress and director. Her website, artSMart, is dedicated to promoting the arts in Durban and further afield in KZN. She is also a judge for The Mercury Durban Theatre Awards and KZN DanceLink. She is closely involved in the renovation and rejuvenation of Stable Theatre and also serves on the DUT Drama Liaison Committee. She has mentored many organisations and performing artists who are now successful personalities in their own right.She is the recipient of four lifetime achievement awards, including the eThekwini Living Legends Award for Arts & Culture.

 David Koloaneis a prominent visual artists whose career spans over a period of over 35 years. From 1974 to 1977 Koloane attended art classes at the Bill Ainslie Studios, which later became the Johannesburg Art Foundation. In 1977, he was one of the founding members of the first black gallery in South Africa, located in Johannesburg. He later studied museology at the University of London from 1984 to 1985. Some of his highlights as a curator include the Culture and Resistance Arts Festival in Botswana, the FubaArt Gallery in Johannesburg and the Zabalaza Festivals in London. Additionally, David Koloane’s works are part of many collections worldwide, including the collections of the Johannesburg Art Gallery, The Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) of Jean Pigozzi, the South African National Gallery in Cape Town and the Botswana National Museum. He is also an ACT Lifetime Achievement Award for Visual Arts recipient. 

Nadia Virasamy has a Masters Degree in Arts, Culture and Heritage Management from Wits University and Bachelor’s degree in Social Science with Honours from the University of Natal – Durban. She has lectured and tutored at UKZN and University of Venda. Her career in arts management includes being Artist/Events Manager at Ghetto Ruff, a well-known music label. In 2005, Virasamyjoined Moving into Dance Mophatong and currently serves the position of Chief Executive Officer/Director of Education. She has also been part of the sessional staff at the Wits School of Dramatic Arts and lectured in Performing Arts Marketing and Organisational Management, and recently co-authored three arts and culture textbooks for grades 7, 8 and 9 for Cambridge University Press. She sits on the board of the Newtown Improvement District, as well as that ofLesedi Music – an NGO that works with the rehabilitation of prisoners through music.

After training at the Market Theatre Laboratory, Prince Lamlaattended a short course in text and interpretation at the Stockholm Stadsteater, before returning to his home town of Qwaqwa, where he worked with the late OfentseBodibe co-directing a number of plays, including Coal Yard that went on to win the Market Theatre Laboratory’s Zwakala Festival in 2005, premiering at the Market Theatre’s Laager and later had a run at PACOFS and the National Arts Festival.  Coal Yard was nominated at the 2006 Naledi Awards for Best Cutting Edge Production. Lamlalater became a member of the Market Theatre’s Writers’ Forum under the guidance of Craig Higginson and participated in a number of local and international theatre making projects and also working with organisations such as Sibikwa, Fresco Theatre Company, PANSA and the Gauteng Organisation of Community Theatre. In 2012, Lamla directed Woza Albert!at the Market Theatre, that went on to set a record at the Market Theatre for sold out houses, rave reviews  and having had the longest run ever at the Theatre. Woza Albert!ended its run at the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland.Lamla was the 2013 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre and recreated Asinamali at the National Arts Festival to great acclaim, and continues to make his mark working in community theatre. 


Eugenie Drakes has been involved in the Cultural Industries for over 28 years working with Performing Arts, Fine Arts, Music, Fashion and Craft. Her experience includes founding the ‘piece’ brand and running it as a successful business for 14 years. ‘piece’ has been featured on Nedbank ‘Its My Biz’ and 2 episodes of ‘Young Designer’, and in 2013, was the runner up in the Talk Radio 702 Small Business Awards She is a Cheri Blair Foundation Mentor and a Business and Arts Mentor and currently mentors a number of local Crafters, Fashion Designers, and Artists.She is a Trustee and Board Member of Siyazisiza Trust (food security and handcraft), the Gatwick Body Corporate and a Founding Member of the Southern Guild Design Foundation.She is a graduate of the Goldman Sachs-GIBS 10 000 Women Certificate Programme for Women Entrepreneurs and is currently the Chairman of the Steering Committee forming the Alumni Association for South Africa.  She is currently one of 110 global women on the Vital Voices Lead Fellowship – a programme started by Hilary Clinton.


Winners of ImpACT Awards will be announced at the Awards ceremony scheduled to take place in Johannesburg in November 2014. The closing date for nominations is 8 August 2014. 


For more information and to submit an ImpACT Nomination, please follow the link:


The 2014ImpACT Awards are supported by the Distell Foundation andCLASSICfeel Magazine.


For more information about the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT) please visit




About the Arts & Culture Trust (ACT):

The Arts & Culture Trust is South Africa’s premier independent arts funding and development agency. The primary aim of ACT is to increase the amount of funding available for arts and culture initiatives, and to apply these funds to innovative, sustainable projects that make a meaningful contribution to society. Through structured funding programmes, ACT provides support for all expressions of arts and culture, including literature, music, visual art, theatre and dance, and the support extends to festivals, community arts initiatives, arts management, arts education and arts administration. 

To receive updates follow ACT on Twitter at!/actorgzaor like the Trust’s Facebook page at


About the Distell Foundation

Distell, one of Africa’s premier producers of fine wines, spirits and ready to drink alcoholic beverages, has actively been supporting the arts for more than forty nine years. Ongoing support is given to a broad range of creative arts development projects that build economic growth, artistic talent, create jobs and enhances excellence in the sector. The Distell Foundation is an umbrella body under which the company’s CSI (Corporate Social Investment) programme is managed. For more information please visit


About Classicfeel

As an arts-focused magazine, Classicfeel magazine is an important South African arts publication. In the South African landscape in which arts journalism in daily newspapers is shrinking, Classicfeel still succeeds in publishing a monthly edition that is power-packed with news, profiles, interviews and best practice trends. The magazine is dedicated to sharpen the spotlight on celebrating South Africa’s diverse artistic and cultural success stories. Written by professional journalist and leading arts industry professionals, Classicfeel reports on major events and it provides insightful background information about artists and their work.


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