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Donmar Warehouse content advisory scheme warns audiences about distressing content

The Donmar's website advises that its latest show Europe includes “war, sexual assault and violence towards migrants”. Photo: Marc Brenner
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Scenes in Donmar Warehouse plays that audiences could find distressing are being highlighted on the venue’s website, under a new scheme to give theatregoers guidance on the content of its shows.

The London theatre has begun signposting potentially upsetting scenes on its website and says its aim is to make the venue “welcoming to everyone”.

For its latest production, Europe, it says that themes in the play include “war, sexual assault and violence towards migrants”.

Warning that its information may contain spoilers – although the information cannot be found by accident – it goes on to state particular moments that could be upsetting for audiences.

The website advises that the first half of the play includes a man repeatedly placing “his hand on a woman’s leg, to her discomfort”.

It adds that in the second half of the play, a man beats up another man due to his status as a migrant, while another movement sees a man describe “a violent attack on a woman”.

For Sweat, currently running in the West End, it warns that “a white character uses a racial slur towards a character of colour at the start of the play” and that a “white character appears a number of times with white supremacist tattoos on his face and neck”.

The move is one of the first from new leadership team, artistic director Michael Longhurst and executive director Henny Finch.

Finch told the Guardian: “I think it is just about being considerate to all audiences, and making sure that everybody feels comfortable, and making the theatre as accessible as possible.”

She added: “Hopefully they give people enough information about whether they want to prepare themselves for a show, or decide whether or not they want to come.”

She stressed it was a trial and that the venue wanted feedback from theatregoers.

“Some people want to prepare ahead, some don’t. It is increasingly a trend to have notes about content on TV and in academic institutions, probably less so in theatres, but we’re interested to see how it goes,” she added.

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