Asian Media Group’s executive editor Shailesh Solanki; editor-in-chief Ramniklal Solanki CBE; Sudha Bhuchar; Kristine Landon-Smith; and Iype Abraham, commercial development director at Edwardian Hotels London.

THE founders of a theatre group that staged East is East and Snookered won the top award at the fourth Eastern Eye Arts, Culture & Theatre Awards (ACTAs) last Friday (21).

Sudha Bhuchar and Kristine Landon-Smith set up Tamasha in 1989 with the aim of staging contemporary theatre.

From humble beginnings, they went on to become one of the most accomplished names which put on plays like A Tainted Dawn, The Trouble with Asian Men and Made in India.

The collaborators were both honoured with the top honour – the Eastern Eye Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts – at a glittering event in central London.

They were among 20 winners on the night, as the awards celebrated the contribution of British Asians to the arts and creative industries.

Now in their fourth year, the annual ACTAs are held by the Asian Media Group, publishers of Eastern Eye and Garavi Gujarat weeklies.

CLICK HERE to watch ACTAs 2019

Huge talent from an array of categories in the arts, media and creative industries was recognised at the awards.

Other winners included Naughty Boy, Ash Tandon and Indhu Rubasingham.

Amit Roy, Eastern Eye’s editor-at-large and chairman of the ACTA judging panel said: “It is heartening to see the depth of creative talent in the south Asian community and we are delighted that this year’s winners showcase some of the best of what our community has to offer.

“Diversity remains a vital issue in the creative arts and the British Asian artistic fraternity continues to make a huge contribution to the wealth – financial and spiritual – generated by the UK’s creative industries.”

Chart-topping producer Naughty Boy won the Eastern Eye award for Contemporary Music for Bungee Jumping.

Tandon, who featured in one of the most talked about television drama series last year, walked away with the award for Best Actor – TV & Drama, for his role in the BBC hit Bodyguard.

For her work in adapting Zadie Smith’s acclaimed White Teeth at the refurnished Kiln Theatre in north London, Rubasingham picked up the Best Director prize.

This year’s Editor’s Special award was presented to the Aga Khan Centre in King’s Cross, London.

Dedicated to the “spread of education, knowledge and exchange of cultural ideas”, the institution’s stated mission is to foster better understanding in a multi-faith world.

The centre houses the Aga Khan Foundation, the Aga Khan University and the Institute for Ismaili Studies which promotes a better understanding of Islam and Islamic culture.

Among other winners were Nitin Ganatra, crowned Best Actor for his part in the theatre production, End Of The Pier.

Actress Shobna Gulati, familiar to viewers of Coronation Street, was named Best Actress for her role in an all-women production of Richard II at the Globe theatre in London.

The Eastern Eye award for Film, TV & Drama, Best Actress was presented to Priyanga Burford for Press, BBC One’s take on the goings-on in a national press.

Tartuffe by the Royal Shakespeare Company picked up the Best Production.

The award for Arts went to the Singh Twins for their Rule Britannia: Legacies of Exchange triptych. Virago, themed on the practice of female foeticide, won Sonia Sabri the prize for Dance.

Author Preti Taneja, whose We That Are Young revisited King Lear in a business family in India, won her the Eastern Eye award for Literature.

The winner of the Eastern Eye award for Photography was Suki Dhanda for Race, Place and Diversity by the Seaside as she captured the diversity of Plymouth in a post-Brexit world.

One winner chosen by members of the public was the People’s Choice award; this year’s winner was Mandip Gill for her role as Yasmin Khan in the 2018 series of Doctor Who. Vinay Patel won the Best Scriptwriter prize for his work on that popular BBC series.

Supported by Arts Council England, the Emerging Artist award went to Antonio Aakeel for his work in Eaten by Lions.

Sanju Sahai won the award for Traditional Music while Paul Chowdhry won the Comedy prize for Live Innit.

Rana Mitter was judged Best Presenter for Chinese Characters, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and told the story of China through 20 lives in different time arcs.

The Community Engagement award was presented to The Queen’s Gallery for Splendours of the Subcontinent, curated by Emily Hannam and Kajal Meghani.

Nihal Arthanayake compered the event at the May Fair Hotel.