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Opinion: Secret Thinker explains why he thinks actor Ralph Fiennes is right about no need for trigger warnings at Shakespeare theatre productions

How refreshing to hear someone standing up to these lily-livered complainers who insist upon treating us all like kids unable to take responsibility for our own emotions.

Actor Ralph Fiennes is furious theatres are issuing warnings to audiences about scary scenes in plays.

Actor Ralph Fiennes is currently starring in Macbeth. Stock image
Actor Ralph Fiennes is currently starring in Macbeth. Stock image

Currently starring in Macbeth, the 61-year-old screen and stage superstar, insists people deserve to be surprised and shocked at what happens and should not be warned in advance.

He maintains the whole point of theatre is to shock, delight and surprise audiences.

He spoke out after London’s Globe issued warnings about ‘upsetting’ themes in a production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – presumably warning there might be an odd naked scene or someone taking their own lives.

I could not agree with him more, of course there are bound to be disturbing scenes in any Shakespeare play.

You’re not going to be able to stage the horrific murders in Macbeth without shocking and disturbing those who see them, that’s the whole point.

Like Mr Fiennes, I would advocate banning these warnings completely and allow audiences to take responsibility for their own reactions and emotions.

But it’s not just theatres who are going over the top, the warnings you get before TV programmes are also getting completely out of hand.

Just about every item featured on the evening news is prefaced by a warning to viewers that what they are about to see may upset them or cause offence in some way.

Surely anyone choosing to watch the news is already aware it will feature disturbing scenes?

After all, it’s been years since TV news programmes featured upbeat, positive news.

Ralph Fiennes was asked to comment on the London Globe's warnings about “upsetting themes” before a performance of Romeo and Juliet. Picture: Google
Ralph Fiennes was asked to comment on the London Globe's warnings about “upsetting themes” before a performance of Romeo and Juliet. Picture: Google

But this issue goes way beyond the news, to comedy shows, soap operas, reality shows, and even kids’ programmes.

All they need to do is feature a slightly challenging subject, anything ranging from money problems to incest, and everything in between, for warnings to be issued advising you not to

get involved, or if you have succumbed, places where you can go for help.

Surfing the channels the other day I was even warned about the dangers of watching an old edition of Dad’s Army – if I had watched it I reckon the biggest danger would have been falling asleep.

The next programme was an edition of Alan Partridge, which was prefaced with such an extensive warning list I feared I might be irreversibly emotional scarred.

In the end I laughed just as much as the first time I watched it, somehow managed to remain uncorrupted and made a mental note to mention how ridiculous these warnings have become.

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