Listen to The show must go on44:365 June 2020

This week on SmartArts, Richard chats with Simon Abrahams, the Creative Director and CEO of Melbourne Fringe about the plans for the upcoming festival. Simon outlines plans on how the festival will adapt around covid-19 with four planned scenarios in the works, from business-as-usual to a full lockdown. One way or another the show must go on.

Melbourne Theatre Company are facing a different set of challenges. Richard discusses these with the Executive Director Virginia Lovett. MTC heavily relies on their live audience, so Lovett predicts it will be a long time until the MTC returns to profitability. She hopes that the organisation will receive external support to continue their work.

Richard continues the theme with Jessica Bridgfoot, the Director of Bendigo Art Gallery. She's overseeing the grand re-opening of the gallery this week. She is optimistic about the future saying "if anything, the pandemic's demonstrated how agile we can all be".

About this program

Visual art, theatre, film and literature. Segments include:

  • 'Art Attack' - fortnightly visual arts reviews with Ace Wagstaff and Tai Snaith.
  • 'Shoot the Messenger' - fortnightly theatre news & reviews with Fleur Kilpatrick.
  • 'Drawn Out' - monthly chat about comic books and graphic novels with Bernard Caleo.

Please email for all interview requests.


Richard Watts has many years experience working in the arts industry, including five years as the Artistic Director of the youth arts organisation Express Media, seven years on the Board of Melbourne Fringe (including three years as Chair), and six years on the Committee of Management at La Mama Theatre, where he currently serves as Chair. Richard has helped program a range of festivals including Next Wave, the National Young Writers' Festival, the Melbourne Queer Film Festival and the Emerging Writers' Festival (which he founded) and he has written for various broadsheets, journals, zines and magazines. Currently he pays the rent by working as the Performing Arts Editor at In his spare time he watches old Doctor Who episodes.

The podcast intro and outro theme is Soft Illusion and was generously provided by Andras.