Entrepreneur says it's 'problematic' to say pantomimes aren't harmful

‘Children will not be damaged’: Panto star Linda Lusardi blasts Cambridge luvvies for putting a trigger warning on Rapunzel – as fellow GMB guest claims shows can leave people ‘unable to control their emotions’

  • Cambridge warned of ‘kidnap’ scenes and ‘homophobia, sexism and drugs’ 
  • Entrepreneur Tru Powell appeared on Good Morning Britain with Linda Lusardi 
  • Powell argued that shows can contain ‘themes that can be harmful to others’
  • Actress Linda said ‘most British adults know what they’re going to see’ at shows 

GMB viewers have been left exasperated by a debate on putting trigger warnings on pantomimes, after Cambridge luvvies issued a warning on their production of Rapunzel.  

Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, Tru Powell, from Birmingham, said that the university was right to use trigger warnings because ‘subconscious messages’ in shows that can impact people negatively. 

The entrepeneur, who is social commentator advocating for equal representation of all races, genders and sexualities, claimed that pantos can ‘put people in a space where they can’t control their emotions’. 

However actress Linda Lusardi, who has regularly starred in pantomimes over the last 30 years, said that adults usually already know the themes of the show and that she’s never had a complaint about content. 

It comes after the Amateur Dramatic Club of Cambridge University warned people going to see a version of Rapunzel by its famous comedy troupe that it contains secenes of ‘kidnapping, homophobia, sexism, drugs and alcohol abuse’. 

Appearing on Good Morning Britain today, Tru Powell, from Birmingham, said pantos should have trigger warnings because ‘subconscious messages’ can ‘put people in a space where they can’t control their emotions’

Actress Linda Lusardi, who has regularly starred in pantomimes over the last 30 years, says that adults usually already know the themes of the show 

Tru says we ‘really do’ need the warnings, because the comedy shows ‘do contain themes that may be harmful to others.’ 

‘When we speak about trigger warnings, we are providing the audience with the information so they can make informed decisions as to whether they want to put them in a space that may trigger some really harmful emotions.

‘I don’t see anything wrong in any content with a trigger warning if it has scenes that may trigger. I think it’s really problematic to think that because it’s a pantomime and it’s a family friendly event, they are not harmful.

‘They can very much be harmful and it can put people in a space where they can’t control their emotions. There’s nothing wrong with your audience making informed decisions as to whether they want to be in that space or not, or even prepare themselves mentally.’ 

Linda, from London, disagreed with Tru arguing: ‘ I think most British adults know what they’re going to see when they go to a pantomime, they’ve all read the stories’ 

Linda, from London, disagreed arguing: ‘I think most British adults know what they’re going to see when they go to a pantomime, they’ve all read the stories. 

‘No child is going on their own, they’re going with an adult and an adult decides if the storyline is suitable or not. If you start putting these warnings on pantomimes you’ll have to put them on everything.’ 

Footlights’ new pantomime production appears to be new take on the Brothers Grimm tale Rapunzel and promises ‘a celebration of individuality and self-love’ with ‘a queer and colourful bang’.  

ADC Theatre, which is considered Cambridge University’s smallest department, said it gave the notes to help people choose what to watch. 

ADC Theatre (pictured), which is considered Cambridge University’s smallest department, said it gave the notes to help people choose what to watch 

Theatre manager Jamie Rycroft told MailOnline: ‘We provide content warnings for productions at our venues, which are optional for audience members to view on our website or ask for at the Box Office.

‘These provide a general indication of the content in the show to help inform audience members’ decision on choosing to watch it, similar to the notes on a film’s content that are provided alongside its age rating.’ 

Tru agrees that the show should have a warning, arguing that pantomimes can be damaging to audiences but often adults dismiss the comedy shows as a ‘family friendly’ form of entertainment.  

‘Actually there are some subconscious messages within these pantomimes that can be harmful and that is treated as normal, we need to put people’s mental health at the forefront’, he said. 

Several viewers agreed with Linda, with one writing: ‘Traditional pantos don’t need a warning’, while another said ‘Still can’t believe that this is even a ‘thing’

‘There is nothing wrong with predicting any form of content that can have damaging ramifications on ones mental health with a trigger warnings 

Linda went on: ‘The average theatre panto doesn’t need a warning, there is nothing that will damage children. In 30 years of being in panto I don’t think I’ve ever had one complaint about the content.’  

Several viewers agreed with Linda, with one writing: ‘Traditional pantos don’t need a warning. My kids used to love the fright of an evil queen, they’d laugh at two men in dresses, it is up to parents to talk to their children, especially younger children.’ 

‘Still can’t believe that this is even a ‘thing’, said another. 

A third wrote: ‘Totally agree! Don’t go to a panto to be potentially offended, simply stay away!!’ 

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