Knowing when your art is successful

We have metrics to judge audience engagement and box office figures, but no formal process to gauge aesthetic success.
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Publicity image for She Said Theatre’s The Quiet Bite at Melbourne Fringe.

One man’s meat is another man’s poison, goes the old adage. Or to put it another way: one woman’s ballet is another woman’s punk-rock circus sideshow. Art speaks to all of us in different ways, and what moves some of us to tears of joy leaves others stifling yawns. In many ways, it’s this ineffable aspect of art that makes our work so engaging.

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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