Ita O'Brien

Ita O’Brien is a British movement director and intimacy co-ordinator for film, TV and theatre. She has taught at some of Britain's acting schools, has published research and devises her own work. In 2017, O'Brien introduced the "Intimacy On Set Guidelines", to protect performers during scenes that involve sex or nudity, which gained significant industry and public interest in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandals. She has worked for Amazon, BBC, and HBO.

Early life and education

O'Brien's family is from Clonmel, Ireland. She graduated in 1998 from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. She also trained as a dancer at the Royal Academy of Dancing. In 2007, she received a master of arts in movement studies from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.


O'Brien has been developing practices when working with intimacy, scenes with sexual content and nudity in film, TV and theatre since 2014. In the absence of any industry-wide guidelines or accepted process, she developed draft guidelines for intimacy, simulated sex scenes and nudity.
There was brief controversy when, on the BAFTA red carpet in 2018, Andy Serkis likened the idea of guidelines to censorship. However, O'Brien says, "These guidelines are not a constraint, but an improvement on current practice. They free the actor to embody the character whilst delivering repeatable and safe scenes that facilitate the Director's vision."
The guidelines have received the support of Women in Film and Television and leading industry figures, including Gemma Arterton, Noma Dumezweni, Olivia Colman, Joseph Millson and David Farr.
Her work has received press coverage, particularly for Normal People, Sex Education, and Gentleman Jack. She has been an advocate for the use of an intimacy coordinator in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland, and UK.

Film and TV

Her credits include Normal People, I May Destroy You, Sex Education, Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams, Derren Brown's Ghost Train series 2 of Humans, The Girl With All The Gifts and many theatre productions.