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 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