Ralph Fiennes: Macbeth star says trigger warnings for theatre should be scrapped
Ralph Fiennes has called for trigger warnings, which let audiences know if there is upsetting content, to be scrapped saying people should be “shocked and disturbed” by theatre.
The 61-year-old actor, known for The English Patient, Schindler’s List and The Grand Budapest Hotel, is starring in an immersive touring production of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth which recently had a sell-out run at the Royal Highland Centre at Ingliston.
Fiennes told BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “I think we didn’t used 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.”
He agreed that should be “got rid” of and said that physical warnings for issues such as strobe effects should still be flagged.
“Shakespeare’s plays are full of murderers, full of horror… It’s the shock, the unexpected, that’s what makes an actor (in) theatre so exciting,” Fiennes also said.
The programme for the most recent Macbeth production starring the actor does not contain any such audience warning, it is understood.
Fiennes’s comments come amid a broader debate about the warnings
Lack year, a London theatre warned theatregoers about strong language, sexual references, grief and death in a production of Frank and Percy, a play about two retired men who meet on Hampsted Heath. It's star, Ian McKellen, described the move as “ludicrous”.
Meanwhile, The Globe has warned audiences about themes contained in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, including suicide and drug use and A Midsummer Night’s Dream for its themes of violence, sexual references, misogyny and racism.