Matt Smith: Scrap theatre trigger warnings as ‘isn’t art meant to be dangerous?’

British actor Matt Smith has said he agrees with Ralph Fiennes that trigger warnings in theatres should be scrapped.

The 41-year-old, known for his roles in Doctor Who and The Crown and currently starring in West End play An Enemy Of The People, said people go to the theatre “to be shocked” and “arrested”.

Speaking on BBC One’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, Smith said he agreed with actor Fiennes, 61, who appeared on the show last week and said audiences at the theatre should be “shocked and disturbed”.

Smith said: “I agree. I watched it, I agree with Ralph utterly and completely.

“That’s why we go to the theatre isn’t it?

“To be shocked, to be arrested out of ourselves, to recognise ourselves in front and with an audience.

“I also agree that if there are strobes or whatever – there are some things it (warnings) makes sense.

House of Dragon premiere
Matt Smith, pictured in 2022, said theatre-goers want and expect to be shocked (Ian West/PA)

“Isn’t art meant to be dangerous?

“It’s like, I always thought that was one of the great things of doing Doctor Who is that you scare children but in a controlled way.

“But you did scare them.

“I mean imagine going to kids watching Doctor Who ‘By the way this might scare you’.

“No, I’m not into it.”

The TV and film star also recalled his reaction to being offered the role of Doctor Who when he was 26.

“I was young and sort of foolish,” he said.

“I’m still foolish and just older and I thought well, would I just always be Doctor Who?

The Crown Season 2 Premiere – London
Matt Smith with The Crown co-star Claire Foy in 2017 (Ian West/PA)

“It’s still one of the great pleasures of my life. I’m so, so proud of that show and it’s just the most amazing part.

“Suddenly you’re Doctor Who, so children are like ‘What, no way you’re Doctor Who?’.”

Smith appeared as the 11th Doctor on the long-running BBC show, which follows a time traveller who can regenerate and embarks on adventures across the universe with friends.

The 10th Doctor, David Tennant, recently returned to the show for three special 60th anniversary episodes.

Asked if he would ever consider a similar return, Smith said: “Never say never.”

Smith’s film credits include Last Night In Soho (2021), Pride And Prejudice And Zombies (2016) and Morbius (2022).

He is also known for portraying Prince Daemon Targaryen in Game Of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon.

An Enemy Of The People, by Henrik Ibsen, is at the Duke of York’s Theatre until April 6.

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