Imagining an Indigenous led performing arts venue

What sort of programming might a First Nations Arts Centre offer, and how would its operations, even its architecture, differ to existing venues?

Image: Dhumba Wiiny (‘fire talk’) as part of Weelam Ngalut at Yirramboi.

Australia has over 100 performing arts centres, ranging from remote regional centres to major venues such as Queensland Performing Arts Centre and Arts Centre Melbourne. But while such venues present a rich array of work annually, the percentage of works by Indigenous Australians they program is minimal, according to figures released last year by the Australia Council for the Arts.

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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