Caring for our arts elders

A documentary filmmaker and the creative director of a new festival discuss ways in which we can foster greater respect for seniors in the arts.

Dancer Dudley Williams; one of the subjects of the documentary Winter at Westbeth; image via

While access programs have become more common in the arts – a glance through most festival programs nowadays allows the reader to quickly establish which venues are wheelchair accessible and which performances are Auslan-interpreted – the inaugural Yirramboi First Nations Arts Festival is taking accessibility one step further.

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Richard Watts OAM is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, a Melbourne Fringe Festival Living Legend, and was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize in 2020. In 2021 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Green Room Awards Association. Most recently, Richard received a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in June 2024. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts