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James Rosen
10 years ago

I was considering this after viewing the Book of Mormon (loved it by the way) and thought about it for quite a while, and came to the conclusion, that due to the spontaneous and fluid nature of theatre, it could be hard to classify. The preview show that the classifiers attend may be changed by the director before the grand opening.

I do think it would be a rather good idea to legally require any potentially offensive material within a production to be clearly signposted on any publicity, but then again, this could take away from the shock of hearing some words, which is normally (…but not always) used sparingly.

Mell Bird
11 years ago

I am currently a 3rd year Professional Production Skills student at GSA “Guildford School of Acting” and I was wondering if you could help me.

As apart of my final year I am writing my Dissertation on Censorship and Age Guidelines in theatre, if there is a requirement for it and if it would be beneficial for the industry and the public.

It seems that age restriction and guidelines in theatre are unclear and most of the time contradicting. Even more so depending on what website you check, for instance;

The Lion King
IMPORTANT NOTE: Minimum Age 3+, Anyone under the age of 3 years will not be granted entry to Lion King

CHILD AGE RESTRICTION: Children under the age of 3 will not be admitted, the show is recommended for children over the age of 5.

No Guidline

My investigation is to see who sets these standards, and why they are not incorporated in all theatres. Surely for the benefit of younger audiences, they should be set to prevent them being exposed to content that is unsuitable for them?
Even more so that the small guidelines publicised state that it is recommended for the ages of 5/7+ but will let children in 3 years younger. Is that really for the benefit of the child? Or do they just want your money?

The British Theatre Guide states that it is possible for an individual to take out a private prosecution against a theatre or theatre company if it is judged to be obscene, libellous, slanderous when performed, blasphemous and any other forms of “liable to deprave or corrupt”. It also maintains that as far as children are concerned, most theatre companies will or at least should specify publically if a show is not considered suitable for children of a specific age.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, and if you could take 2 minutes of your time to fill out my survey that would be awesome! 😀
Click here to take survey

Meg Upton
Reply to  Mell Bird
11 years ago

Hi Mell,
This is an area that greatly interests me as I work with theatre companies that produce challenging theatre for young people. I also work with mainstream theatre companies and prepare resource material,framing the resources around a range of mitigating factors.Your first question about WHO sets the standards is the most interesting and most tension filled. However, you second comment seems to indicate that you have made up your mind about the issue? I don’t believe that theatre should have ratings per se because of the difficulty of WHO and WHAT is ‘suitable’, but for carers and teachers bringing young people to the theatre there does need to be a key person to discuss content with.
My argument though is that seeing challenging theatre with someone or others (parents, grandparents, teachers) in a supported context ie questions, discussion is actually a great way to experience provocations and issues because it isn’t real but it has real people in it. Will now do the survey. Meg

Meg Upton
12 years ago

Interesting to read these comments retrospectively. There is obviously a need to discuss this in a public forum BUT to also include young people – sometimes our own concerns are not theirs!

13 years ago

Has anyone seen FatBoy? Consider the opening few lines cross most of the language taboos that I thought I held. As a playlisted VCAA performance deemed suitable and appropriate for students, I was really shocked about the intensity of the language.

Not much more uncomfortable than sitting with your year 11 and 12’s when the opening line is:
‘Mother******!, C******sucking ******headed mother****** F********s!’

Whilst I understand that the VCAA has printed it’s play list with warnings of ‘infrequent course language’, there is a line where I would have appreciated a little more warning. And I also acknowledge that the language is used as an alienation technique…. but really? Really?

13 years ago

Hi Cashy. I saw Malthouse Theatre’s ‘Elizabeth’ with my students, and I agree, I don’t think there was adequate warning for a show that is the ‘poster show’ for their education program! (Great show btw, kids were excited to see G Rush 2 rows infront of us!)

13 years ago

I think the Melbourne Theatre Company needs applauding for creating this online document, accessible by all on their website, for plays in their 2010 season: