‘Intimacy coordinator’ who made sure cast of Normal People felt comfortable during sex scenes helps launch master’s degree in the subject
- Intimacy coordinators were introduced in the wake of the MeToo movement
- The master’s degree will include lesson on how to appropriately cover genitals
A master’s degree that will teach students how to become experts on directing sex scenes has been launched with the help of the ‘Intimacy coordinator’ who made her name working on BBC’s Normal People.
The two-year course will provide a detailed knowledge of how to make actors comfortable and ensure that all genitals are covered appropriately during intimate shoots.
Intimacy coordinators were introduced in the wake of the MeToo movement to protect and guide actors during sex scenes.
Ita O’Brien made her name as intimacy coordinator for Normal People and is now helping launch the new masters degree – that will charge over £15,000 for its first year.
She told The Times that there is ‘so much’ to teach on the topic and that she is asked by two people a day about getting into the industry.
A master’s degree that will teach students how to become experts on directing sex scenes has been launched with the help of the ‘Intimacy coordinator’ who made her name working on BBC’s Normal People
Ita O’Brien (pictured) made her name as intimacy coordinator for Normal People and is now leading the new masters degree – that will charge over £15,000 for its first year
Applications for the Masters of Fine Arts degree at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in Peckham, accredited by the University of East Anglia, open tomorrow.
Students will learn about power dynamics between performers and producers, consent and boundaries and the best way to use ‘modesty garments’ to cover an actor’s intimate area.
Speaking to The Times, O’Brien said: ‘It’s a really complex role and it’s really important that there is a pathway that can be trusted in the industry.
‘I want the role of intimacy coordinator and implementation of intimacy guidelines [to be] mandatory.’
The coordinator, who has also worked on It’s A Sin and Lady Chatterly’s Lover, said she wants to ensure standards for the role are maintained – and aren’t lowered by self-proclaimed experts.
She also defend the role against criticism from actors who have said it removes spontaneity from the scenes.
In February Sir Ian McKellen slammed ‘irrelevant’ jobs such as intimacy coordinators for ruining the ‘purity’ of modern theatre.
The legendary actor said there are too many people ‘getting in the way’ of performers today.
He singled out intimacy coordinators suggesting that directors could do the job just as well.
Speaking to The Times, O’Brien said: ‘It’s a really complex role and it’s really important that there is a pathway that can be trusted in the industry
While Dame Emma Thompson hailed intimacy coordinators as ‘absolutely essential’ following McKellen’s comments.
Speaking to Andrew Marr on LBC, Dame Emma, 63, dismissed Sir Ian’s remarks, saying: ‘It’s all very well, if you’re a bloke it’s a different kind of thing.
‘I think if you’re a young woman on a set, which is largely peopled by men, the crew will be 90 per cent men and the women won’t be on the set with you, because generally speaking we do not have parity on any level on film sets, it’s all men.
‘And that’s a very uncomfortable position for a young woman who’s starting in the industry, but it is absolutely essential that there is someone there to protect them. Absolutely essential.
Sean Bean said that intimacy professionals could ‘spoil the spontaneity’ of sex scenes.
While other female members of the industry, including Rachel Zegler, criticised Bean’s comments.
Dame Emma said: ‘It’s not to say that they’re going to be in there all the time arranging your boobs, it’s that they can be there in case you might feel that there’s a position that you’ve got into that you’re not quite comfortable with, you know, your bum hole’s waving in the air, and you just think I don’t feel quite comfortable…’
Gillian Anderson and Bridgerton star Rege-Jean Page have also previously praised intimacy co-ordinators for their work in on-screen productions.
While Daryl McCormack revealed how he and co-star Dame Emma prepared for the racy sex scenes in their latest film, Good Luck To You Leo Grande.
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