Chichester Festival Theatre denies Nazi warnings are "patronising" as Sound of Music set to open

Chichester Festival Theatre has strongly defended the guidance notes it issued for this summer’s big musical The Sound of Music – after the notes sparked accusations it was “patronising” to signal the musical’s Nazi theme.
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If you delve into the show information section on the CFT website, you will find a section on themes which states “Music; family; romance; the threat of Nazi Germany and the annexation of Austria.” It has brought an extraordinary response.

The Times mocked: “The hills are alive with the sound of trigger warnings: Theatre tells audiences to brace for nasty Nazis and war in The Sound of Music.”

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The Daily Telegraph commented: “Trigger warnings are now everywhere – the cultural elite must think us stupid. The latest example, believe it or not, is The Sound of Music, which attendees may find ever so slightly patronising.”

The Sound of Music (Gina Beck)The Sound of Music (Gina Beck)
The Sound of Music (Gina Beck)

Elsewhere the guidance was labelled “incredibly patronising and sort of dismissing the resilience that people have.”

However Chichester Festival Theatre has stood by the guidance it gave and denied it amounted to “trigger warnings”

A CFT statement said: “We include general guidance on content and themes (not trigger warnings) on our website for all our productions, for audiences and, in the case of The Sound of Music, particularly for parents to make informed decisions about age suitability.

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“It’s for audiences to choose whether to open and read these or not, but we know from feedback that many people do find them helpful. Of course theatre can and should be challenging; but, for a family musical, we’re giving honest and factual guidance, for those who require it, that the show contains serious themes as well as Rodgers and Hammerstein’s glorious songs and uplifting story.”