Judi Dench Criticizes Trigger Warnings: “If You’re That Sensitive, Don’t Go to the Theater”

It’s safe to say Judi Dench isn’t much of an advocate for trigger warnings in the theater.

During an interview with Radio Times magazine, the Oscar winner recently joined the debate surrounding notices at the beginning of a production, alerting viewers that the content contains potentially distressing material.

“Do they do that? My God, it must be a pretty long trigger warning before King Lear or Titus Andronicus!” the Notes on a Scandal star said. “Crikey, is that really what happens now?

Although Dench understands the need for warnings under certain circumstances, she also feels it can impact the viewer’s experience while watching a stage production.

“I can see why they exist, and it is preparing people, I suppose, but if you’re that sensitive, don’t go to the theater, because you could be very shocked,” she explained. “Where is the surprise of seeing and understanding it in your own way?”

The Skyfall actress continued, “Why go to the theater if you’re going to be warned about things that are in the play? Isn’t the whole business of going to the theater about seeing something that you can be excited, surprised, or stimulated by? It’s like being told they’re all dead at the end of King Lear. I don’t want to be told.”

Dench joined other actors who have criticized the use of trigger warnings, such as Ralph Fiennes.

The Schindler’s List actor told the BBC earlier this year that he feels theatergoers have “gone soft.” He added, “The impact of theater should be that you’re shocked, and should be that you’re disturbed, I don’t think you should be prepared for these things. It’s the shock, it’s the unexpected, that’s what makes an act of theater so exciting.”

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