A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

miscellaneous news
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

ILLA THOMPSON (article first published : 2005-12-16)

Being able to say you would change nothing about your life, even if you could, is an amazing thing. Totiís Illa Thompson, of Publicity Matters, is one of those people. Her career and personal life have melded together to equip her with the attitude she needs to remain positive and successful.

On November 21 at the Durban Theatre Awards held at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, she received the judgesí award for her tireless support of theatre in SA. It was one more feather to add to her professional cap. She won the Arts and Culture Trust of the Presidents Arts and Culture Publicist of the year award in 1998 and 2003, and even the "Fools" award, which she fondly describes as "fabulously affirming."

Born in Brentwood, Essex, Illa grew up in Athlone Park and attended Kingsway High School. "I grew up with four sisters, two parents and a sundry of pets including an aged dachshund named Pip."

She studied journalism and psychology at Rhodes before getting her foot in the door of Natal Newspapers. On a journalistís salary, Illa almost had no choice but to work as an usher at the Playhouse for extra cash. Her desire to extend her relationship with the media combined with a penchant for working with magazines, radio and TV, made it easy for her to accept a position as a publicist for Napac in 1998.

ďI applied for the job at the Napac Loft Theatre and got it. The first week was hectic. I walked straight into preparations for a major season."

Some 17 years later and her job remains just as hectic. "The only change is Iíve now got more wrinkles and grey hair," she quipped. In between getting the wrinkles, Illa has racked up numerous highlights. She worked on the Peace Awards in the presence of Nelson Mandela, the gala concert for Queen Elizabeth when she was in Durban, and even with a stubborn R&B singer.

Despite her success and recognition of her efforts, Illa still lists personal events with special friends and family as her most treasured memories. "One of my biggest blessings in this life is to have the most caring, supportive, nurturing and loving, huge family and circle of special friends. My mother is amazing. It is one of the things which always keeps me going and for which I am eternally grateful."

There may not be anything she would change in her life, but there may just be a few things Illa would like to see a change in. "I donít think there has been much growth in the appreciation of good thought-provoking dramas and challenging theatre. I think our society is becoming soft in the middle and no longer looks to be challenged, preferring to be glibly entertained," Illa adds. "This can be seen across the board, from the publicís choice of movies and the lack of support of intelligent theatre, art and music."

It is that very appreciation that keeps Illa constantly on her toes, supporting theatre, exhibitions and events. "Durban offers the most wonderful array of things to do and see over the festive season," she says. "Donít stay at home in front of the telly, go out there and enjoy some of the great live events and theatre on offer. You donít know what you are missing."

Luckily, it is Illaís job to let us know just what is happening, so we never have to miss it. - Colin Roopnarain




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart