Judi Dench Criticizes Trigger Warnings in Theater: ‘If You’re That Sensitive, Don’t Go’

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Judi Dench is skeptical about the need for trigger warnings in theater.

In an interview with Radio Times magazine, Dench was asked about her opinion on content advisories before watching a stage production.

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

Dench, whose career on stage spans more than five decades, is one of the most celebrated British theater performers. She has worked for the National Theatre Company and Royal Shakespeare Company, and has garnered several accolades, including a Tony Award and seven Olivier Awards.

“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,” Dench said of trigger warnings. “Where is the surprise of seeing and understanding it in your own way?”

She 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 is one of the latest actors to criticize the necessity of trigger warnings in theater. Earlier this year, Ralph Fiennes said on BBC One’s “Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg” that audiences have gone “soft.”

“The impact of theater should be that you’re shocked and you should be disturbed,” Fiennes said. “I don’t think you should be prepared for these things and when I was young, [we] never had trigger warnings for shows.”

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