Theater in London Shares Extensive ‘Trigger Warning’ Guide

Audiences have grown accustomed to seeing trigger warnings shown throughout shows. However, one theater has gone to extremes by making 12-page “self-care guides” for its productions.

Actress Phoebe Waller-Bridge got her start at the illustrious Bush Theatre in London, which is now publishing the detailed guidelines for material on its website.

An accompanying handbook for “grounding exercises” to “bring yourself into contact with the present moment” is available at the Arts Council-funded venue in case a performance triggers one.

It recommends that when one is filled with anxiety over what they saw in a performance, they notice five things they can see, four things they can feel, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. 

It continues by instructing the person to sit with their back against their chair, and they can tap each leg and then tap their shoulders, all techniques designed to distract them from the horror they just witnessed in the theater.

Following that, it suggests washing hands or drinking water.

Dramatic warnings for drug or lurid themes, references to body hatred and fatphobia, and “blood” are included in the most recent production of the play, Lady Dealer, which follows a female drug kingpin who must face her mental health.

The ‘woke’ trigger warnings sent in advance of UK performances have been criticized by actors, including 89-year-old Dame Judi Dench.

She recently commented that you shouldn’t go to the theatre if you’re that sensitive. 

Often, the trigger warnings are spoilers. 

British stars Ralph Fiennes and Matt Smith have also made remarks in the past few months that continue the trigger warning debate. 

Audiences have “gone soft,” according to actor Ralph Fiennes, who has argued that trigger warnings should be eliminated.

Fiennes stated that theater should shock and distress audiences. 

He is now appearing in an immersive touring production of Macbeth by William Shakespeare.