'You Should Be Disturbed;' Ralph Fiennes Calls For Limited Trigger Warnings In Theatres

The actor noted trigger warnings should be limited to things that might affect someone physically, like strobe lighting.

By: Feb. 12, 2024
'You Should Be Disturbed;' Ralph Fiennes Calls For Limited Trigger Warnings In Theatres

Ralph Fiennes has voiced his opposition to the use of trigger warnings in theatres, advocating for audiences to experience the full impact of the production without prior alerts to potentially disturbing content.

“I think we didn’t use to have trigger warnings. I mean, they are very disturbing scenes in Macbeth, terrible murders and things. But I think the impact of theatre should be that you’re shocked and you should be disturbed. I don’t think you should be prepared for these things and when I was young, (we) never had trigger warnings for shows.”

Fiennes noted that he still supported warning for things that could affect people physically" such as strobe effects.

Fiennes made these remarks in a recent interview with BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, where he distinguished between warnings for content that could physically affect audience members, such as strobe lighting, which he believes should still be flagged, and narrative-driven content that is intended to provoke thought and emotion.

His comments come amidst a broader debate within the theatre community regarding the balance between audience preparedness and artistic expression. Esteemed actors Ian McKellen and Christopher Biggins have also shared their perspectives, critiquing the proliferation of trigger warnings for potentially reducing the element of surprise and engagement in theatre.

In addition to his stance on trigger warnings, Fiennes addressed concerns regarding high ticket prices in the theatre industry, noting efforts to make performances more accessible with a percentage of tickets for his upcoming production of Macbeth being offered at lower prices.

Fiennes will star in Macbeth at Washington, DC's Shakespeare Theatre Company with performances beginning April 9th.

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