Art as a (literal) refuge

We’ve all been consoled by a song, a film or other art work in times of need. But arts centres can also be practical relief centres in physical emergencies.
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Arts House Refuge. Photo credit:Randall Hill, Reuters. 

From a performance space that doubles as a cyclone shelter in the Cocos Islands, off the coast of WA, to the Whitehorse Centre in Nunawading with its 408-seat theatre, arts spaces which double as Emergency Relief Centres (places which can provide life support and essential needs to local community members affected by an emergency) are not uncommon.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts

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